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Home Detention For Brothel Owner Who Hired Underage Girls

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Aug 5 NZPA - A Whangarei brothel-owner who hired two underage girls to work as sex workers has been sentenced to five months' home detention.

Kenneth Paul Stewart, 61, who appeared for sentence in Whangarei District Court yesterday, had earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of facilitating a person under 18 in providing commercial sexual services.

The Northern Advocate reported the charges related to Stewart allowing two girls, aged 17 and 16, to work at his Whangarei massage parlour, Golden Palace, in 2006.

Two further charges of receiving earnings from sex workers were dropped after he pleaded guilty.

Judge John McDonald said the offences were committed in August and September 2006 when Stewart ran the parlour.

The legal age to work as a prostitute is 18.

Stewart had been approached by a young woman who wanted to work at the parlour. She told him she was 18 and he did not ask for any documentation to prove her age.

The girl worked for about five weeks.

Another girl was interviewed by Stewart and told him she was 18, but said she could not provide proof of age.

He employed her after she said she would provide identification later.

The matter came to light when one of the two underage girls started talking about it with classmates.

Judge McDonald said, as the brothel operator, Stewart had a duty to prevent the exploitation of young girls at a time when they were most vulnerable.

He accepted Stewart did not go out and seek underaged girls to work as prostitutes. However Stewart had failed to take rudimentary steps to ensure the girls were not underage.

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