27 Mar 2013

Disagreement over 'increase' in teen prostitutes

7:49 pm on 27 March 2013

Community leaders in South Auckland say the number of underage prostitutes in the area has been increasing.

The latest newsletter from the Otara-Papatoetoe, Mangere-Otahuhu and Manurewa boards says teenagers are soliciting sex in Otara at night.

It quotes Maori warden Tina Herewini, who has worked in the area for 27 years, as saying girls as young as 13 are selling sex for about $600 a night.

Otara-Papatoetoe board chair John McCracken says locals are worried that such young people are engaged in prostitution and feel threatened by the types of people that industry attracts.

However, Counties-Manukau East Area Commander, Inspector Chris de Wattignar, says if there was an outbreak of underage prostitutes, the police would know about it.

Inspector de Wattignar says officers patrolling the area every night speak to the youths there and while many of them are loiterers, they're not prostitutes.

He says neither Child, Youth and Family, nor the Prostitutes Collective, have approached the police with concerns about under-age prostitutes in the area.

The Prostitutes Collective agrees, saying if there was an increase, the collective would be tackling the issue, along with the police and Child, Youth and Family.