The release of this important research ‘Worker Exploitation in New Zealand: A Troubling Landscape contains first hand evidence of workers being exploited in many industries in our country. The main areas are: construction, dairying, horticulture, hospitality, international education and prostitution. Some of the exploitation has amounted to modern day slavery and there are some alarming fees being charged by recruiters of migrants to New Zealand.

Don Lord from Hagar NZ, one of the coalition partners, states “the current fog around residency for migrants has produced perfect conditions for some employers to exploit the vulnerable and less informed, which if left unchecked could cross the line from exploitation to trafficking.

The fact that people are working long hours for around $5 an hour or being paid for half the hours they worked is surprising in a highly developed country. It is interesting to note also that the first cases of human trafficking are appearing in our courts. The coalition partners (Hagar NZ, The Prescha Initiative, ECPAT NZ, Stand Against Slavery) urge relevant government departments to consider the recommendations to assist the work they are already doing in attempting to eliminate the exploitation of workers in New Zealand.

Hagar New Zealand is proud to have been one of the coalition partners involved in this important research.

Below is the official Press Release:


Worker Exploitation In New Zealand

A Troubling Landscape

Research Report Released

A new report, the first of its kind in New Zealand, shows some worrying trends on worker exploitation in New Zealand. After interviewing over 100 (predominantly) migrant workers in New Zealand, Auckland University researcher, Dr. Christina Stringer, outlines that New Zealand has a troubling landscape regarding the extent of exploitation being experienced in this country.

The Human Trafficking Research Coalition of four organisations, ECPAT NZ, Hagar NZ, Stand Against Slavery, and The Préscha Initiative, have created ten recommendations in response to the evidence-based report and urge Government and Civil Society to address these in order to stamp out worker exploitation and human trafficking in New Zealand.

Some of the workers interviewed for the purposes of this research relayed conditions they were subjected to that amount to modern day slavery in Aotearoa, New Zealand. The research showed that certain industries and demographics in New Zealand have elevated levels of exploitation that need critical attention and monitoring. It also outlined alarming practices taking place in the recruitment of migrants to New Zealand.

In releasing the report to Government Officials yesterday coalition spokesperson Peter Mihaere, says “finally we can move on from the tiresome rhetoric of anecdotal stories to empirical evidence-based research which gives credibility to the faces of those experiencing exploitation in New Zealand.” He went on to say, “Let us be very clear, this research is just the beginning. It explores an issue we have known exists for decades but struggled to quantify and explain. We need to work together, carry out more in-depth research and put in place solutions needed for New Zealand to be exploitation and slavery free.”

The production of this research, report and recommendations has been a three year process. Its release is timely given the trial and conviction of New Zealand’s first human trafficking case in September 2016.