Prepared by Susan Coppedge, July 2006
with funding from the sponsors of the Ian Axford (New Zealand) Fellowships in Public Policy
Susan Coppedge is an Assistant US Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, in Atlanta. In this capacity she has successfully prosecuted a variety of criminal cases including human trafficking cases, public corruption, and document fraud/identity theft. Susan received her law degree from Stanford University and her undergraduate degree from Duke University.
During Susan’s Ian Axford Fellowship exchange to New Zealand she was based at the Ministry of Justice in Wellington, where she researched the enforcement of New Zealand laws passed to curtail and punish human trafficking, smuggling and commercial sexual exploitation.
People trafficking is a global epidemic with an estimated 800,000 people trafficked each year, the majority being trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. This report looks at the range of laws in effect in New Zealand to address both people trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Cases are already being successfully brought under the Prostitution Reform Act and the smuggling provision of the Crimes Act. To date, there have been no cases brought under the trafficking provisions of the Crimes Act (section 98D). People trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation cases bring unique issues with respect to victims, both in terms of identifying them and working with them to achieve a successful prosecution. The analysis includes identification of future challenges New Zealand faces in combating under-age commercial sexual exploitation. The report also contains a survey of some non-governmental organisations and the work they do to prevent at-risk youth from engaging in commercial sexual exploitation.
By presenting three case studies, the report examines potential transnational people trafficking in New Zealand. These case studies arose prior to the enactment of the trafficking laws in 2002, but provide a basis for analysing people trafficking in New Zealand and an indicator of what cases may arise in the future. These case studies also provide scenarios for training law enforcement in recognising and investigating people trafficking. Lastly, recommendations are made as to what steps New Zealand can take to reduce commercial sexual exploitation of persons under 18 years of age and prosecute future people trafficking cases.
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