Sex workers as young as 13 in South Auckland

Last updated 15:06 26/03/2013

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Girls as young as 13 are making hundreds of dollars a night working as prostitutes in South Auckland.

A Maori Warden of 27 years, Tina Herewini, who has lived in Otara all her life, is concerned by what she describes as an "outbreak" of underage prostitutes.

From Thursday to Sunday there could be as many as 30 young girls lingering at the corner of Bairds Rd and Kew Ln in front of the Otara Shopping Centre, she said.

"I don't know which ones are prostitutes, but there is a line of cars leading up the lane into the car park," she said.

"You see the girls talk with the drivers and then hop in the cars and drive a few more metres into the car park, where they do the business."

She said the most concerning trend was that young girls were being taught by the more experienced ones.

The pattern also caught the attention of NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor, who went on a midnight walkabout to see what was happening.

She is calling on Parliament to address street prostitution to protect the girls.

"It cannot be allowed to operate free of accountability in our society," she said.

"They tell me they are doing it because they can. It's legal. They learn from the older prostitutes, what to say to customers and what areas to go to for business.

"I spoke to one 13-year-old girl who said because she was young she was making as much as $600 a night. She even told me the prices she charges for the different sexual services."

John McCracken, chairman of the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board of the Auckland Council, said the location represented a fourth area of South Auckland where the street sex industry had established itself.

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