The Solicitor-General is appealing the sentence given to an Auckland mum who kept her teen daughter as a sex slave for nearly two years, and is seeking harsher terms.

Kasmeer Lata, 36, was jailed for six years and 11 months by Justice Matthew Muir last month for dealing in slaves, dealing in a person under 18 for sexual exploitation, and receiving earnings from commercial sexual services from an underage person.

The High Court judge also imposed a minimum period of imprisonment of three years and five months.

She had kept her teenage girl as a prisoner, selling her to men around Auckland about 1000 times, and first doing so on her daughter's 15th birthday.


Lata was New Zealand's third conviction for dealing in slaves, while the case was also the first case of its kind in the country under a specific subsection of the Crimes Act.

At Lata's sentencing the Crown Solicitor at Manukau, Natalie Walker, called for the offending to be denounced in the most explicit terms.

The maximum sentence for dealing in slaves under New Zealand laws is 14 years' imprisonment.

Today, at the sentencing of Lata's partner, Avneensh Sehgal, Walker told the court an appeal has been filed against Lata's sentencing by the Solicitor-General's office.

Sehgal was sentenced by Justice Graham Lang to four years and eight months' imprisonment with a minimum period of two years and four months.

When sentencing Lata, who has been called the "most despised woman in New Zealand", Justice Muir relied on a 1991 case and several others from the UK to help him reach a judgment - due to a the lack of case law in New Zealand.

Before Lata, only two others had been convicted over dealing in slaves under New Zealand legislation - the first in 1991 and another in 1998.

Avneensh Sehgal during his sentencing today in the High Court at Auckland. Photo / Michael Craig
Avneensh Sehgal during his sentencing today in the High Court at Auckland. Photo / Michael Craig

The Crown has attempted to prosecute seven others for dealing in slaves, Ministry of Justice statistics released to the Herald under the Official Information Act show.


Two people were charged in 1995, three in 2000, one in 2008, and one in 2009 but none of the charges were proved.

Prior to the charge being written into the Crimes Act 1961, New Zealand relied on the United Kingdom's Slave Trade Act of 1824.

Justice Muir said Lata's offending has caused "long-lasting, if not irreparable damage to her daughter" as she "effectively pimped her out".

He wished to send a "strong message to all parents" when he imposed a minimum period of imprisonment.

"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."

Both Lata and Sehgal will be deported to Fiji and India, respectively, at the conclusion of their sentences.

The teenage victim, now 18, was granted residency and can now live, work and study in New Zealand without fear of deportation.

"I had to do what I was told, what my mother said," the teenage victim told the Herald in an exclusive interview.

"My main weakness is that I love my mother a lot - I still do - and I can't see her tears.

"All I wanted was your love when I was a child, teenager - and as your girl," she added in her victim impact statement.