Report Exposes Human Trafficking Shortfalls
A United States report outlining New Zealand’s shortcomings in tackling human trafficking shows New Zealand is “oblivious and ignorant” about forced labour taking place under our noses, anti-trafficking organisation Stand Against Slavery says.
Enforcement agencies like Immigration New Zealand must be beefed up so they can take more cases against traffickers and ensure prosecutions do not fall through, the organisations says.
The US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report for 2016 placed New Zealand in its top tier for governments who fully meet minimum trafficking standards.
However, the report said New Zealand was a “destination country for men and women subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking’, while children here were involved in sex trafficking within the country.
“Some foreign workers are charged excessive recruitment fees, experience unjustified salary deductions, non- or underpayment of wages, excessively long working hours, restrictions on their movement, passport retention, and contract alteration.”
Chief executive of Stand Against Slavery Peter Mihaere said forced labour was “prevalent” across New Zealand, particularly in primary industries like horticulture, agriculture and farming.
While some people were trafficked into New Zealand for forced work, Mihaere said most victims were migrants who came here willingly.
“It’s people who have either chosen to come to New Zealand and live and then, because they haven’t been able to find a job, have found themselves in exploitation situations, or they’re students who have come to New Zealand looking for jobs and have found themselves exploited.”
Original article by Sam Sachdeva, Stuff, July 1, 2016.
Photo by Kevin Lamarque.