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New global initiative tackles sex trafficking and includes NZ

By Semi Holland
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New Zealand has been named as a "source country" for sex trafficking of underage girls according to a US Trafficking in Persons report. Often the girls are of Māori and Pacific Island descent. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise worldwide. Now an anti-trafficking group has established a new global initiative to help tackle the problem.

The US Trafficking in Persons report says NZ is a source country for underage girls subjected to internal sex trafficking.

Trafficking expert Carter Quinley “A lack of awareness and education than a lot of times those girls think they're going to get other jobs in the big cities but what happens is they're sold into either sexual exploitation and forced labour sometimes forced begging.”

Quinley is from anti-trafficking group Nvader set up by New Zealanders in Thailand and supported by Tearfund, an organisation that relieves poverty among the world's most vulnerable people. Quinley says vulnerable indigenous communities are targeted by the worldwide human trafficking criminal syndicate.

“They're vulnerable indigenous communities who are poor who don't always have access to that education and they are very susceptible to traffickers who then go and pray on those communities or to traffic victims to the kind of big hubs like the cities in Bangkok and Shanghai.”

According to this report, New Zealand is also a destination country for foreign men and women subjected to forced labour. Around the world, Carter Quinley says 45 million people are enslaved and around $150bil is profited from human trafficking every year. Now Nvader has set up a global campaign to tackle the problem.

“So Tearfund sponsors Nvader which is an anti-human trafficking organisation in South East Asia and the LBTL campaign is a way for New Zealanders for kiwis to get involved in anti-trafficking efforts through eating and using only 2 dollars and 85 cents per day for all of your meals.” 

The report recommends that New Zealand increases efforts to identify victims, amend the law to ensure trafficking offences are not punished by a fine, and to define the sex trafficking of children not to require the use of force, fraud or coercion.

For more information visit the Live Below the Line website.

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