The New Zealand Government is failing to meet minimum standards to prevent people-trafficking and slavery, according to the US Trafficking in Persons report released today.
The annual report released by the United States State Department reviews human trafficking in each country and assesses the steps being taken to combat it.
Last year, New Zealand lost its Tier 1 ranking and now sits alongside Bangladesh, Iraq, Pakistan and Thailand as a Tier 2 country failing to meet minimum standards.
“As New Zealanders, we’re known on a global stage for doing what’s right. But as this report shows, we are failing in our obligation to protect our most vulnerable,” says Laura Bond, World Vision’s Head of Advocacy and Justice. “No one wants to see anyone enslaved or trafficked, in Aotearoa or anywhere.”
The report recommends New Zealand increases efforts to proactively investigate and prosecute sex and labour trafficking cases, and sentence convicted traffickers to adequate penalties.
It also recommends a change to the definition of child sex trafficking so that it does not require evidence of the use of deception or coercion.
“We’re calling on the Government to accelerate its efforts to combat slavery and trafficking in line with the recommendations of the report,” Bond continued. “There are a number of steps the Government can choose to implement today to ensure everyone, wherever they live, is able to live and work safely, and with dignity.”
“Furthermore, we are urging the Government to ensure the new Modern Slavery Act, currently under consideration, puts children and the most vulnerable at its heart.”
You can read the full report here: US Trafficking in Persons report.