Girl at nude bike ride angers

By Kate Newton


A mother's choice to let her 8-year-old daughter take part in a naked beach bike ride has been labelled "tantamount to abuse" by an organisation that prevents the sexual exploitation of children.

The 8-year-old girl, who wore bikini bottoms, was one of eight bikers who took part in Saturday's New Zealand World Naked Bike Ride from Omanu to Papamoa. Her mother declined to speak on the issue despite the leaders of organisations lambasting her decision.

ECPAT International's New Zealand director Alan Bell said exposing a child to naked adults was "tantamount to abuse".

ECPAT's name is drawn from "End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes".

"If people want to get in the nuddy and go for bike rides without offending too many people that's their business ... what I was concerned about was the 8-year-old girl," Mr Bell said.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

"It's exposure to unnecessary risk. Why would you put an 8-year-old girl in front of naked men?"

Mr Bell said 8-year-olds were too young to know what was right and wrong.

"Children don't have the capacity to make an informed decision. It's the responsibility of the adult to make sure they are in a safe environment."

Bob McCoskrie, Family First's national director, was against the New Zealand World Naked Bike Ride taking place and concerned to hear an 8-year-old had been part of it.

"When you're getting 8-year-old kids being exposed to that stuff you have to think something's wrong. Most people would agree with that," Mr McCoskrie said.

"Most people would be concerned to have young children being exposed to full frontal nudity."

When asked what he would tell the girl's mother if given the opportunity, Mr McCoskrie said: "What adult wants to expose an 8-year-old girl to full front nudity?"

The event's organiser, Andrew Pointon, said children had been involved in the event all over the world.

So when the girl's mother contacted him to ask if her daughter could also ride, he said yes.

"It's about your body image and nude is not rude, so why should children be eliminated," Mr Pointon said.

"It's not a ride to segregate age or gender or anything else," he said.

"I don't like people singling out children for being naked because it seems perverted.

"It doesn't faze me and it shouldn't faze anyone else.

"The little girl had permission from her mother and they had a wonderful time," Mr Pointon said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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