17 Apr 2018

Mother who pimped out daughter sentenced to almost seven years

8:35 pm on 17 April 2018

A teenage girl whose mother pimped her out for sex as much as five times a day says all she ever wanted was for her mother to love her.

Kasmeer Lata during sentencing at the High Court in Auckland

Kasmeer Lata during sentencing at the High Court in Auckland Photo: RNZ

In the High Court in Auckland today, Kasmeer Lata was sentenced to six years and 11 months in jail, after pleading guilty to dealing in slaves and sexually exploiting and receiving earnings from commercial sexual services provided by an underage person.

Lata and her children entered New Zealand in 2014 on visitor visas, which later expired.

She manipulated her then 15-year-old daughter into working as a prostitute and forced her to do so for 18-months until late 2016.

Lata, now 36, initially told her daughter that it would only be for a month and that the family needed the money to live and to buy food to eat.

On the teenager's 15th birthday, she was coached by her mother on how to have sex and forced to have full penetrative sex with her first client, a man in his 50s.

Justice Muir said at one point the teenager told her mother she wanted to stop working as a prostitute.

"The defendant then started charging her for rent, food, utilities and letting fees, knowing that without any ability to lawfully work in the country, this would inevitably force her back into prostitution," he said.

The teenager was also advertised on a number of websites by Lata, offering sexual services, including in the classified section of the New Zealand Herald.

In mid-2015 she found out she was pregnant by one of her clients and her mother told her to get an abortion.

Crown Prosecutor Natalie Walker said it was gross offending of the most exploitative kind.

She read out the teenager's victim impact statement, which said she felt she had been deeply betrayed.

"I felt like my mum treated me like a piece of paper that was just being used," it read.

"I've always loved you mum but I couldn't get over that, all I wanted was your love when I was a child, teenager and as your girl."

'Extremely remorseful'

But Lata's lawyer Karl Trotter said she was extremely remorseful for what she did and hoped her daughter would find it in her heart to forgive her.

Justice Muir said this case was the first of its kind in New Zealand where someone was prosecuted for exploiting their children for sexual labour.

"I consider it appropriate to send a strong message to all parents that New Zealand courts will not countenance the prostitution of their children whatever their financial or immigration circumstances may be," he said.

"Children are entitled to the love, care and support of their parents, not farmed out for financial gain."

He gave Lata a minimum non-parole period of three years and five months.

Lata's partner Avneesh Sehgal, who was supposed to stand trial next week, has pleaded guilty to dealing in a person under 18 for sexual exploitation and receiving earnings from commercial sexual services provided by a person under 18.

Sehgal arranged advertising, allowed the use of his bank account to deposit earnings and drove the victim to meet with clients.

He will be sentenced in May.