“New Zealand’s anti-slavery laws lave been found wanting in a report by the US State Department which says New Zealand is a source of underage girls for the sex trade and a destination for foreign workers subjected to forced labour on fishing boats.
The list of abuses is revealed in the department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report released by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Mrs Clinton called for trafficking “to be labelled for what it is, slavery“.
The report identifies domestic issues.
“A small number of girls and boys, often of Maori or Pacific Island descent, are trafficked domestically to engage in street prostitution while some are victims of gang-controlled trafficking rings.”
Some Asian and Pacific Island people who migrate to New Zealand to work in the agriculture sector are also subsequently forced to work in conditions not stipulated in their contracts and are charged excessive fees.
In May, the New Zealand government announced that within four years foreign-owned fishing vessels will need to be re-flagged as New Zealand ships, and therefore subject to the country’s laws, if they want to continue fishing in its waters.
The move was a response to allegations of human rights abuses, low wages and misreported catches aboard some of the 27 Korean flagged boats currently fishing.
The State Department report says New Zealand does not have comprehensive anti-trafficking laws and does not criminalise all forms of forced labour.
“Although slavery is prohibited, its definition only covers situations of debt bondage and serfdom; thus, this prohibition does not cover forced labour obtained by means other than debt, law, customs, or agreement that prohibits a person leaving employment,” the report says.
It recommends that New Zealand enact law to prohibit and adequately punish all forms of human trafficking.
New Zealand also needs to increase efforts to prosecute both sex and labour trafficking offenders.”
New Zealand’s report
“New Zealand is a source country for underage girls subjected to internal sex trafficking and a destination country for foreign men and women subjected to forced labor.
Foreign men, largely from Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, are subjected to conditions of forced labor, including debt bondage, aboard foreign-flagged fishing vessels in New Zealand waters.
Alleged conditions experienced by workers on these boats – most of which are Republic of Korea (South Korea)-flagged – include confiscation of passports, imposition of significant debts, physical violence, mental abuse, and excessive hours of work. Prior press reports and the UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking have indicated that fishermen from Vietnam and elsewhere in Southeast Asia are also allegedly victims of forced labor on fishing vessels in New Zealand waters.
Foreign women, including some from China and Southeast Asia, may be recruited from their home countries by labor agents for the purpose of prostitution and may be at risk of coercive practices. A small number of girls and boys, often of Maori or Pacific Islander descent, are trafficked domestically to engage in street prostitution while some are victims of gangcontrolled trafficking rings.
Some Asian and Pacific Islander individuals migrate voluntarily to New Zealand to work in the agricultural sector and are subsequently forced to work in conditions different from what was stipulated in their contracts.
Some foreign workers report being charged excessive – and escalating – recruitment fees, experiencing unjustified salary deductions and restrictions on their movement, having their passports confiscated and contracts altered, or being subjected to a change in working conditions without their permission – all indicators of human trafficking.
The Government of New Zealand fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. During the reporting period, the government initiated research to investigate the extent of human trafficking in the fishing sector and in the legalized sex trade; however, it made no convictions or prosecutions under the country’s trafficking legislation. Additionally, the government is undertaking a legal review of national anti-trafficking legislation to ensure its compliance with international norms.
While a trafficking investigation continued at the end of the reporting period, and potential victims were identified and provided with some services, the government did not formally identify any persons as trafficking victims during the year.
Recommendations for New Zealand:
Draft and enact legislation that will expand New Zealand’s current antitrafficking legal framework to prohibit and adequately punish all forms of human trafficking;
update the 2009 national plan of Action to reflect the current trafficking in persons situation in the country; make greater efforts to assess the full extent of sex and labor trafficking occurring in New Zealand;
significantly increase efforts to investigate and prosecute both sex and labor trafficking offenders; investigate and prosecute employment recruiting agencies or employers who subject foreign workers to debt bondage or involuntary servitude;
continue and increase efforts to proactively screen vulnerable populations, including women in prostitution, foreign workers, and illegal migrants, in order to identify and assist trafficking victims;
increase efforts to identify and assist child sex trafficking victims; continue to make proactive efforts to identify victims of labor trafficking, particularly among populations of vulnerable foreign laborers;
and implement an ongoing anti-trafficking awareness campaign directed at clients of both the legal and illegal sex trades.
The Government of New Zealand made efforts to investigate suspected trafficking offenses but failed to convict and punish any trafficking offenders during the reporting period.
New Zealand does not have a comprehensive anti-trafficking law. Although the government maintains that its trafficking laws comply under the 2000 UN TIP Protocol, it announced during the year that it would undertake a review of its laws to ensure that they are in fact consistent with international anti-trafficking norms and the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
Current New Zealand statutes which explicitly define human trafficking provide a narrow definition of trafficking as a transnational offense, while other provisions, specifically those found in the Crimes Act of 1961, address some forms of forced labor and domestic trafficking offenses. It appears that New Zealand law does not criminalize all forms of forced labor.
First, although slavery is prohibited, its definition only covers situations of debt bondage and serfdom; thus, this prohibition does not cover forced labor obtained by means other than debt, law, custom, or agreement that prohibits a person from leaving employment.
Because the prohibition of trafficking is limited to transnational actions such as the abduction, use of force or threat, or force, coercion, or deception to arrange entry into New Zealand – and does not include reference to exploitation, there appears to be no legal prohibition on the domestic recruitment, transfer, or transportation of adults for the purpose of exploitation.
Furthermore, there do not appear to be additional prohibitions covering types of forced labor, such as that which is coerced by overt force or compelled by other means, which do not fit into the laws’ narrow definition of slavery.
The Dealing in Slaves statute and the Prostitution Reform Act criminalize sex trafficking. These statutes prohibit inducing or compelling a person to provide commercial sexual services and, with regard to children, provide a broader prohibition to include facilitating, assigning, causing, or encouraging a child to provide commercial sexual services. While statutory penalties for these crimes are generally commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape, the maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment prescribed for the sex trafficking of children is not commensurate with penalties imposed for rape or with the maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment prescribed for inducing or compelling the commercial sexual services of an adult.
Previous research indicates that children have been prostituted, including by gangs, and the government acknowledges the risk of exploitation of some children. However, there were no such victims identified or cases reported during the year.
The Crimes Act of 1961 and the Wages Protection Act of 1983 prohibit fraudulent employment and recruiting practices, though the government has never prosecuted suspected trafficking offenders under these laws, which prescribe sufficiently stringent penalties of up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine in an amount equivalent to $250,000.
These penalties are commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.
The Immigration Act prohibits retention or control of a person’s passport or any other travel or identity document, though there were no prosecutions for passport confiscation during the year.
During the reporting period, the government initiated six criminal investigations concerning forced labor on South Korean-flagged fishing vessels operating in New Zealand waters and under charter by New Zealand registered companies; these investigations remained ongoing at the close of the reporting period. Reports regarding forced labor on the South Korean-flagged fishing vessels revealed several abuses, including mental and physical abuse, sexual harassment, and withholding of payment or altered compensation.
Although the government has charged the six South Korean-flagged fishing vessels for environment –related offenses, including the dumping of fish to evade quotas, it has yet to charge them with alleged forced labor of crew members.
The government demonstrated efforts to protect human trafficking victims during the reporting period. The country’s laws require that victims of crime, including human trafficking, receive access to and information about services including medical care, legal aid, and psycho-social counseling; the government offers these services to individuals on a caseby- case basis.
Also on a case-by-case basis, the New Zealand police, provide amenities, such as food and shelter, to meet the immediate needs of victims of crime and refer them to NGOs or other service providers.
Over 120 possible victims of forced labor aboard foreign chartered vessels in the commercial fishing industry were identified by NGOs and the government during the reporting period. The majority of these individuals, all men, claimed severe underpayment of wages, and some also alleged experiencing additional abuse.
These conditions aboard the vessels led to several crews leaving their ships en masse during the reporting period. Thirty-two Indonesian fishermen were provided immediate welfare, including short-term shelter and food during the initial phase of one subsequent investigation.
Additionally, immigration officials granted six crew members temporary visas, with work rights, to remain in the country to represent the crews’ interests in the recovery of wages, to provide testimony regarding fish dumping in contravention of environmental regulations, and to assist in the ongoing investigation of human trafficking aboard the vessels.
The remaining members of this crew returned to Indonesia. Members of other crews have been repatriated.
New Zealand’s laws authorize temporary residency to victims of trafficking for up to 12 months and makes them eligible for a variety of government-provided or government-funded services.
During the reporting period, a citizen of New Zealand was repatriated from the Philippines after being subjected to human trafficking. Upon her return to New Zealand, she received appropriate trafficking victim support services, including medical and counseling services.
The Government of New Zealand continued to make efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting year.
The Ministry of Social Development continued to distribute brochures on trafficking indicators in six languages to regional departments, which distributed them to community groups, as well as those in the sex trade and the horticulture and viticulture industries.
At the Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch international airports, the Department of Labor displayed posters warning people of trafficking vulnerabilities and providing websites where migrant workers can seek additional help.
In the months preceding the Rugby World Cup, hosted by New Zealand in September and October 2011, Immigration New Zealand worked with law enforcement agencies in potential source countries, such as Australia, South Africa, Hong Kong, and Singapore to develop a strategy to prevent transnational trafficking, including through the relocation of law enforcement staff and other resources.
During the reporting period, Immigration New Zealand started a nationwide operation increasing the monitoring of brothels to ensure compliance with applicable laws and to identify victims of human trafficking, including forced labor or debt bondage.
The Department of Labor established a working group to examine issues that affect vulnerable migrant workers, specifically those on dairy farms, and the government funded a study based in Auckland on migrant women in the legal sex trade to explore conditions that may lead to their exploitation and coercion.
In response to a series of academic, NGO, and press reports on the significant prevalence of forced labor aboard South Korean-flagged fishing vessels operating in New Zealand waters, the Government of New Zealand commissioned a ministerial inquiry in September 2011 to examine the extent of allegations of trafficking and mistreatment of crews, complaints of underpayment, questions about vessel safety standards, and reported breaches of fisheries and environmental regulations.
The ministerial inquiry released its final report in March 2012, outlining 15 recommendations, of which six were immediately accepted by the government; other recommendations, some requiring legislative changes, are said to be long-term and remain under consideration. Perhaps the most significant recommendations are those that call on the government to amend the Fisheries Act of 1996 to restrict foreign chartered vessels operating within New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone to those under direct charter agreements, and to require all crews on these vessels to be covered under New Zealand employment contracts guaranteeing adequate wages and working conditions.
The government’s inter-agency working group on trafficking, led by the Department of Labor, met twice during the reporting period. The government did not take significant steps to reduce the overall demand for commercial sex acts in the decriminalized commercial sex industry. During the reporting period, the Department of Labor developed an online training module on trafficking in persons to make compulsory for all new staff.
The government trained customs, immigration, labor, and police officers on identifying victims of trafficking and on victim interview techniques. Front-line customs officers received training aimed at raising their awareness of trafficking indicators and were provided templates of possible questions to ask if they encounter suspected victims of human trafficking.
No women in prostitution were identified as trafficking victims by compliance inspectors during their interviews of women in brothels. In November 2011, a man was found guilty for facilitating child sex tourism to Thailand through a website. He was the first person in New Zealand to be charged with such an offense, and in February 2012 he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
The government provided anti-trafficking training to military personnel prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.”
Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales, first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand taken from places around the net.
Today’s tale was published recently on an expat forum. The author is a British woman of retirement age living in Christchurch for the last five years and enduring repeated earthquakes.
Hello everyone expats and soon to be expats
We will be moving back to blighty next month. I am excited and nervous all at the same time. Have had lots of emotions these past couple of years with quakes and stuff and now the last of my daughters has made the move out of NZ and gone to Perth we felt it was time to go as well as our kids are once again in all four corners of the world.
We moved here because our daughters and grandchildren were here, in hindsight (which is a wonderful thing!) we should not have done that cause your kids will always do what they want and live here there and everywhere so never follow your kids unless they are tied to your apron strings and you and they don’t ever want to be apart! For us, it has been an experience that we have both grown from and in a sense made me better able to cope with things that could be thrown at us back home. Hey, if anyone has been coping with living in this area these past couple years then they can cope with anything, but I don’t want to dwell on quakes and wonder about them for the next god knows how many years so time to move on.
For me it seems the right time and I can’t wait to be reunited with my family back home especially my old mum in her 90′s, one of our daughters and grandchildren and my brother and sister and extended families. Oh and to have another winter Christmas will be bliss. If I lived down under for 20 years I would never feel like it was really Christmas in the heat we endure here trying to make it feel festive!
So off we trot next month, having a stop over to visit our Son in Arizona for a week before we fly into Heathrow on the 21st. Oh and we have treated ourselves to Premium Economy, couldn’t quite stretch to business but it is still on my bucket list! Well we could but would mean less pounds to spend at t’other end!
So farewell friends, been nice popping in and out of here these past years. Hope you all have a good winter and try and stay warm and toasty. Hoping to settle back in the west country again.
Goodbye and goodluck peeps.
We are eligible to apply (for citizenship) in November but I don’t feel I want to stay here until then although it would give us options! I don’t want to be one of those people who gets Citizenship and pledge my allegiance and then do a runner to OZ which is what so many do and I can fully understand why they do it, just not sure if that is for me.
We are off to Oz for 8 days in a few weeks so I will have to see what I think about it. Not been there before, all our trips have been either USA or UK so Oz here we come, well can’t return home not having visited can we. Doubt I will be coming back this way in a hurry.
Thinking about laying out tens of thousands of pounds to emigrate to New Zealand and work in Christchurch, Canterbury?
You may be disappointed to learn that Kiwis are still the preferred candidates for work in the region.
A growing number of visa applicants are being declined by the Christchurch immigration office. This is because rising unemployment in New Zealand means that local workers are given preference over foreign candidates already on shore.
Word must be getting out because visa applications have plummeted.
Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ) Christchurch branch has received the lowest number of applications since 2003 as immigrants leave the earthquake-hit city.
Despite this, people who want to stay in Christchurch are struggling to get work visas.
Jobs for Kiwis first
”INZ figures show that for the 2011-12 financial year, 9939 people applied for visas at the Christchurch office. In 2009-10, more than 13,500 applications were received.
INZ has declined more work visas this financial year than last.
The operations manager at migration law firm Malcolm Pacific, David Cooper, said unemployment across the country has led to an “increase in the amount of applications being declined“.
“Obviously, it’s jobs for Kiwis first. That’s how it has always been and when someone applies for a work visa, then [INZ] does its own labour market research,” he said…” more here Visa refusals in shaken Christchurch
Jobs for Kiwis first is nothing new, this policy has been in place for years. Read any of our posts tagged Jobs for Kiwis for more.
But this policy doesn’t seem to have much influence on the many NZ immigration job fairs that have been touting for workers in countries such as Ireland.
Be warned, your visa application fee doesn’t get refunded if you’re declined.
Immigration New Zealand has a projected $44 million deficit in its memorandum account to plug, somehow. The shortfall arose because of a drop off in visa application volumes following the GFC and the Canterbury earthquakes.
Think hard before you make the leap and part with your cash.
You may also like
- Another British Migrant may be Forced to Leave NZ – “It looks as if there is evidence that the colloquially named “Jobs for kiwis” policy may still be being implemented in New Zealand. A highly regarded British employee may be forced to leave the country because his work permit may not be renewed despite his employer being unable to find someone to fill the post…” December 2009
- Another Migrant Family Left High and Dry - ” The mum is gainfully employed as a very much needed residential care worker. When she applied for a renewal of her work permit Immigration New Zealand (INZ) “decided not to renew it”. She’s appealing against that decision and INZ been placed her on a visitor’s permit until the outcome is known, this means she can no longer work and is left without an income…” July 2009
- Jobs For Kiwis: Skilled Migrants Not Getting a Fair Deal on Work Permit Extensions - “The Motor Trade Association has added its voice to the outcry over the ‘jobs for Kiwis’ policy which has resulted in some migrants being denied work permit renewals, despite holding secure jobs. Many migrants are being told to leave NZ just weeks after their extensions are refused or warned to face the consequences of remaining in the country illegally.” July 2009
- Jobs for Kiwis – How it Impacted on an IT Worker – “Just one story of how the “jobs for Kiwis” policy has impacted on the life of a European skilled worker who has lived in NZ for 8 years…”
More on the “jobs for kiwis” policy and INZ shortcomings:
Migrants groups push to end ‘hypocrisy’ – new migrants still arriving but no jobs
Government brain drain explosion – StatsNZ show there’s no brain drain
Continuing in our popular series of Migrant Tales, first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand taken from locations around the net.
Today’s tale was first published on the forum at Expatexposed.com, a not for profit self help and support forum for expats living in New Zealand.
This was written by a British person. It is a tale of success, proof of life beyond New Zealand, told by someone who said that before they came to New Zealand they had been living in the 21st century.
Thought that I’d check back in one week after my move to Australia.
First off, everything is on your doorstep and there’s lots of it.
There’s not much in the cost of stuff in the supermarkets, but we are in the middle of sydney- one of the most expensive places to live in the world (my salary increase/package more than makes up for the added cost of living here).
Walking around Bondi Juction Westfield I felt like a peasant in rags. New Zealand is so far behind Australia in every way that it’s not funny (and I’ve lived in Auckland and Wellington).
Another thing that struck me is that Australia is multi-cultural. It is not just Polynesians and white people with a tolerated (but mutually disliked) Asian enclave. Australia has folks from all over, from separate cultures; but all with one thing in common- they are Australian. This incredible melting pot means that you have authentic Greek, Viethamise, Thai, Lebonese food on your doorstep (no more dodgy Indian food made with Watties tomato sauce or those iffy Chinese and European takeaways).
Whilst I’m living in a heaving metropolis, it is a world famous metropolis and so cool it’s unreal. A few hours out in each direction Australia has provided me with breathtaking landscapes that would be the envy of NZ. Check this out- it’s on my doorstep!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…ew_South_Wales%29
I feel like I’ve come in from the cold. I could cry I feel so blessed to be here. Sydney is so incredible there’s no place like it in NZ (or in the UK, for that matter). Could it be that this is my reward for those 6 years of misery in NZ?
My distilled list of annoying things about NZ:
NZ is full of big talk but little ideas.
NZers have a complete lack of accountability.
The Treaty of Waitangi and and the whole angry maori/guity pahkiha thing- get over it guys. You don’t see me running to the Italians, the Norwegians, the Danes and the French with my hand out do you. And there’s more “pure Brit” (i.e. Welshman) in me than there is pure maori in any “maori” alive today. One New Zealand, one people..end of story. Sorted.
To be honest, the big problem with trying to explain what is annoying about NZ is that it is not one big thing, or even a few moderate issues. It is hundreds of little things. I’ve explained my experience of NZ as being death by a thousand cuts.