19 Jun 2015

Child sex workers 'not spotted by schools'

4:58 pm on 19 June 2015

An Auckland social worker and researcher wants to know how schools fail to notice when children spend the day coming down off drugs, having spent the night selling their bodies as sex workers.

Police say a  dispute over payment was behind the attack on sex worker.

Photo: File picture - AFP

As part of a Masters of Social Work course at the University of Auckland, Natalie Thorburn interviewed 10 child prostitutes, aged between 12 and 16.

Natalie Thorburn

Natalie Thorburn Photo: SUPPLIED

She said for most of the nine girls and one boy, home life was chaotic and their parents were often battling mental health issues and drug addiction.

Ms Thorburn said she does not know how school staff fail to notice that something's not right.

"I would hope that there were enough supportive relationships within the school and within the girls' communities that somebody would have noticed changes in behaviour, or warning signs, or the physical changes that come with coming down off methamphetamine, [or] the tiredness that comes with being out all night, and picked up on that and followed it up."