Prostitution and minors
Underage involvement in the sex industry continues to be a controversial issue in New Zealand, both before and after the passage of the PRA in 2003, with conflicting claims of its extent or relationship to the PRA.
Child prostitution is illegal. The Prostitution Reform Act 2003 reads as follows:
Prohibitions on use in prostitution of persons under 18 years 20.
No person may cause, assist, facilitate, or encourage a person under 18 years of age to provide commercial sexual services to any person. 21.
No person may receive a payment or other reward that he or she knows, or ought reasonably to know, is derived, directly or indirectly, from commercial sexual services provided by a person under 18 years of age. 22.
No person may contract for commercial sexual services from, or be client of, person under 18 years
(1) No person may enter into a contract or other arrangement under which a person under 18 years of age is to provide commercial sexual services to or for that person or another person.
(2) No person may receive commercial sexual services from a person under 18 years of age. 23. Every person who contravenes section 20, section 21, or section 22 commits an offense and is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years.
(2) No person contravenes section 20 merely by providing legal advice, counselling, health advice, or any medical services to a person under 18 years of age.
(3) No person under 18 years of age may be charged as a party to an offense committed on or with that person against this section.
Thus, it is legal for a person under 18 to be a sex worker, but it is illegal for anyone else to profit from them in this capacity, or cause, assist, facilitate, or encourage them to provide commercial sexual services to any person. It is also illegal for anyone to purchase sex from a person aged under 18. The media are likely to require photographic ID before placing advertisements to ensure they are complying with this law. The defence of "reasonableness" has been removed, but sex workers appearing under age may be asked by Police to provide proof of age.
However, there appears to be no law prohibiting a person under 18 from being a client of a prostitute, thus the legal age for this would presumably be 16, the legal age of consent in New Zealand.