New Zealand ranks very high on the UNDP human development index but has suffered economically since entering into a recession in 2008. Despite a resource-driven comeback in 2011, around 200,000 children still live in poverty, half of whom are of Maori or Pacific origin. The effects of poverty in New Zealand contribute to the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The majority of children working in the New Zealand sex trade are there due to an inability to meet basic needs. In New Zealand, children under the age of 16 do not qualify for unemployment or other benefits and in the absence of a financial support system, some youth may be driven into prostitution. Despite economic setbacks, New Zealand has made great strides in combating child pornography and has been rated highly in international reports for its legislation on this matter. New Zealand has also taken a severe stance against virtual child abuse images within Japanese animated cartoons (anime) or comics (manga). In a 2004 landmark case, animated characters were classified as child pornography and deemed objectionable. Cases like this demonstrate New Zealand’s commitment to ending child pornography. Despite successful legislation in place to combat CSEC, specifically child pornography, further action must be taken to reduce child poverty and other vulnerability factors in order to fully eliminate future risks of CSEC. New Zealand must continue to educate the public and private sector on these issues as well as focus on prevention and protection programmes for Maori, and other vulnerable children. To understand more about the commercial sexual exploitation of children in New Zealand, you can read the full report here.