Kasmeer Lata was jailed yesterday for keeping her teenage daughter as a sex slave and selling her to men some 1000 times. The Herald explains how she was unmasked.

The story of one of "the most despised woman in New Zealand" may have remained faceless had it not been for the bravery of her victim - her daughter.

Kasmeer Lata was sentenced yesterday in the High Court at Auckland to six years and 11 months imprisonment for dealing in slaves and receiving earnings from commercial sexual services from an underage person.

The horrific case involved Lata keeping her teenager daughter as a sex slave and selling her to men for sexual services an estimated 1000 times over a nearly two-year period around the city.

It is one of New Zealand's most sickening criminal cases and just the third ever conviction for slave trading in the country's legal history and the first prosecution under a specific subsection of the Crimes Act.

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But the 36-year-old mother may have still enjoyed a degree of anonymity after the offending, had it not been for her daughter's courage - and desire for the public to know who her chief abuser was.

Kasmeer Lata kept her teenager daughter as a slave and sold her a sickening 1000 times for sex. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Kasmeer Lata kept her teenager daughter as a slave and sold her a sickening 1000 times for sex. Photo / Jason Oxenham

To start yesterday's sentencing hearing before Justice Matthew Muir, defence counsel Karl Trotter indicated he would make no application for permanent name suppression on Lata's behalf.

Her interim name suppression, which was granted to protect her daughter, would therefore lapse.

Lata's identity may have remained hidden because her daughter has permanent suppression under the the Criminal Procedure Act, due to being aged under 18 at the time of the offending.

However, the teen victim of Lata's shocking abuse wanted the country to know what her mother had done to her.

Crown prosecutor Natalie Walker told the court the teen was content with media reporting her relationship with her offender, which could have otherwise been suppressed.

Justice Muir, agreeing there was a high public interest in the case, also said he was confident that publicly identifying Lata, and identifying her as the teen's mother, would not lead to the identification of the victim.

Lata and her daughter do not share the same last name.

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Now, Lata's face and name will become synonymous with one of the most malignant cases of domestic abuse to be heard in New Zealand's courts.

"I always wanted my mum to be a normal person ... I wonder what I did to deserve my mum. All I wanted was your love as a child, teenager, and your girl," the teen wrote in her victim impact statement.

"I have to make up lies about four years of my life and why I live on my own without my parents' support," she said.

Trotter told the court: "Ms Lata has come to the realisation that she may well be the most despised woman in New Zealand, that will be her burden."

Kasmeer Lata in the dock during her sentencing. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Kasmeer Lata in the dock during her sentencing. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Justice Muir, who said he had thought a lot about the case prior to sentencing, said Lata's offending had caused "long-lasting, if not irreparable damage to her daughter".

When imposing a minimum period of imprisonment of three years and five months for Lata he also offered a "strong message to all parents".

"New Zealand's courts will not [tolerate] the prostitution of children," he said.

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

Co-offender arrested trying to flee to India with bag of cash

Lata's co-defendant, Avneensh Sehgal, was arrested on the eve of his domestic partner's sentencing, the Herald revealed.

He helped Lata facilitate as many as five "appointments" a day with men wanting to have sex with the teen by driving her to motels around Auckland.

Sehgal had pleaded not guilty and was due to go trial on Monday morning in the High Court.

However, he was arrested at Auckland International Airport trying to board a plane to India.

Sources told the Herald Sehgal was stopped with a large bag and cash. He told border security and police he was travelling to Delhi to tend to his ill father.

Just minutes after Lata was sentenced Sehgal pleaded guilty to dealing in underage people for sexual exploitation and receiving earnings from underage sexual exploitation.

He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced next month.