Media Release 18 November 2008
Child prostitution trivialised by Manukau Courts
Men convicted of buying sex from children in South Auckland are being treated far too leniently by the Courts, says
advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation.
Stop Demand’s comments follow a sentence of community work handed out this month by the Manukau District Court to
21-year old Adam Andrew Rika, convicted under the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 of buying sex from a person under 18
Stop Demand’s founder Denise Ritchie says “There is a disturbing trend coming from the Manukau District Court that reveals that some prosecutors and some judges
are totally out of touch with the seriousness of child sexual exploitation.”
In March this year, 41-year old Ross Wiperi received a paltry 200 hours community work by the Manukau District Court for
buying sex from a child. Another child sexual exploiter, also sentenced to a meagre 200 hours community work, received
name suppression. Last month, 38-year old Dennis Peter Kanara received one year’s supervision and three months community
detention on similar charges. The maximum penalty for buying sex from a child is seven years imprisonment.
“Sentences of community work grossly trivialise the seriousness of the harm done to children sexually exploited through
prostitution - psychologically, physically and emotionally - harm that is well documented in international research,” says Denise Ritchie. A 2006 federally-funded Australian study found that Sydney’s street prostitutes “are more likely to
suffer from post traumatic stress disorder than soldiers returning from combat or police officers”.
”When New Zealand Courts treat the sexual exploitation of our children by adult men as a trifling misdemeanour, it is
little wonder that this country has an appalling record of child abuse including child sex abuse. Weak sentences provide
little deterrence to offenders. Judges imposing such sentences are sending a message to the community that the sexual
exploitation of children is a low-level crime,” says Denise Ritchie.
In addition to tougher penalties, overseas studies have found two key deterrent factors in stopping men from buying sex
generally: their spouse finding out and public exposure.