Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sex for "P" and the Prostitution Reform Act

Today's Herald has a story about Kapiti teenagers prostituting themselves for drugs:

Senior Constable Mike Tahere said police on the Kapiti Coast had come across about five school-leavers who told them they had performed sexual acts with dealers in exchange for methamphetamine, or "P".

"These are young girls who've been introduced to P by dealers. They've told us, 'You know, we do favours', to fund their habit."

The girls had not broken the law by prostituting themselves because they were 16, Mr Tahere said.

The girls might not have broken the law, but the dealers certainly have. Section 22(2) of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 states that

No person may receive commercial sexual services from a person under 18 years of age.

While s23(1) imposes a penalty of up to seven years imprisonment. "Commercial sexual services" is defined so as to include any reward, not just money. I'd say the legal case there was pretty clear.

There will be all sorts of barriers to prosecution - chiefly, the reluctance of witnesses to get on the stand and testify against their suppliers - but the possibility is there. Drug dealers may want to be just a little bit more careful about exploiting teenagers in future...


Of course as soon as the girls turn 18, it's perfectly legal to pimp their bodies for all they're worth. How reassuring...

Posted by Muerk : 8/17/2006 11:34:00 AM

One of the joys of living in a liberal society where people are free to do what they want. But this stuff is a clear case of exploitation, there's a clear course of action available, and hopefully the police will make use of it. Remember, they got Al Capone in the end for tax evasion...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/17/2006 11:57:00 AM

My issues with the legalisation of prostitution are less to do with sex workers who work for themselves, and more to do with pimping being perfectly legal and thus morally sanctioned.

Really there's no greater or lesser exploitation going on when a dealer gets a 16 or 17 year old hooked into drugs and then effectively coerces her/him into prostitution, than when it's an 18 year old.

One of the blights of a living in a liberal society is that people are free to do what they want - even to the expense of others sometimes.

Still as you say, there's always the Al Capone example.

Posted by Muerk : 8/17/2006 08:22:00 PM