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New anti-trafficking group backs latest US recommendations.

Launch of Stop the Traffik Aotearoa

20 Jun | 2012

Sallies launch STOP THE TRAFFIK in NZ.

The recently launched New Zealand arm of global anti-slavery activist group STOP THE TRAFFIK backs US State Department calls for New Zealand to put greater effort into assessing and combating sex and labour trafficking in the country.

The US State Department’s annual Trafficking In Person’s (TIP) Report, released today, highlights the now well-documented labour abuses and trafficking on South Korean flagged fishing vessels in New Zealand waters, as well as evidence of trafficking in our horticulture and agriculture sectors.

STOP THE TRAFFIK Aotearoa was launched yesterday at Parliament and is being coordinated by The Salvation Army’s New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory.

Steering committee member and co-author of a major investigation into labour and human rights abuses on foreign-flagged fishing vessels Dr Christina Stringer says the TIP report’s identification of trafficking on foreign-flagged fishing vessels is consistent with the research carried out by herself and Glenn Simmons.

“It is interesting the report notes that while prosecutions are underway for environmental offenses aboard Korean fishing vessels, to date there have been no convictions or prosecutions under New Zealand’s trafficking legislation,” she says.

“Furthermore, the TIP report highlights that New Zealand lacks a comprehensive anti-trafficking law and makes a number of key recommendations for the New Zealand Government.”

STOP THE TRAFFIK Aotearoa’s main objectives are highlighting trafficking labour exploitation and abuse in the supply chains of products manufactured overseas and sold in New Zealand, and trafficking and related labour and human rights abuses occurring in New Zealand territory.

It has begun to build a network of NGOs and individuals in the South Pacific. STOP THE TRAFFIK already has more than 1000 New Zealand organisations and individuals supporting its campaigns and its establishment in New Zealand is supported by the US Embassy and British High Commission.

STOP THE TRAFFIK Aotearoa Coordinator Chris Frazer says the first of a series of campaigns will get underway in July.

STOP THE TRAFFIK was established in the UK in 2006 as a grass roots organisation to raise awareness and take action against the sale and transportation of people and labour exploitation. It operates in 50 countries and its chair Steve Chalke has been appointed as a special advisor to the UN’s Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking.

At last night’s launch at Parliament, speakers included Labour Party justice spokesman Charles Chauvel, Minister of Immigration Nathan Guy, Green MP Jan Logie and Peter Tinsley from the US Embassy.