A young woman jailed for sexually exploiting a 14-year-old girl is appealing her sentence, with her lawyer saying the victim's "sophistication" should be taken into account.

Monika Rachael Kelly, 21, last year admitted to dealing in people under 18 for sexual exploitation, and was sentenced in the High Court at Auckland to two and a half years' imprisonment.

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Kelly, 19 at the time, was operating an illegitimate prostitution service using a 14-year-old girl.


She met the teen through a mutual friend and asked her if she would be a prostitute for her.

She made a profile for the victim using an alias for the girl and amended her date of birth to be 18 or 19.

The teen was exploited four times in this way at central Auckland hotels with Kelly receiving payments of up to $350.

Appearing by audio-visual link in the Court of Appeal in Wellington, Kelly's lawyer, Ron Mansfield, said the sentence had been driven by the maximum penalty of 14 years prison, and that it was inappropriate for that to happen.

He said the offence was akin to manslaughter in that there were no guidelines as to how to sentence an offender, given that the offending could vary so widely within the charge.

He also said the court shouldn't just take the victim's age into account, but should also consider her "level of sophistication".

"[The] 14-year-old was quite worldly as far as experience was concerned," he said.

"Her age is of course important, the fact that she wasn't at home is important, but so is a real view of who the complainant was . . . she was confident and worldly for her age."


He said Facebook messages between Kelly and victim showed two friends relying on each other, and painted a different picture to what was said in the victim impact statement.

In her statement, the teen said Kelly took her in during a challenging time in her life, and was exploiting her.

She said she felt trapped and was constantly placed in situations of extreme discomfort.

Mansfield also said there was not enough reduction to the sentence for Kelly's guilty plea, and that it was an "ideal" case for home detention.

Rehabilitation should be the primary focus for the court, he said.

Crown lawyer Peter Marshall said it was important to look at the facts of the offending - that "the appellant arranged for a 14-year-old girl to be sexually exploited by an older man" on four occasions.

He said when the victim expressed reluctance there was a "measure of pressure" put on her to continue.

If the court was to consider the Facebook and text messages, then they should look at all of them, he said.

Messages sent from Kelly's phone showed her agreeing to "degrading" and "demeaning" acts to be done to the victim, and agreed for the victim to be filmed, and involved in group sex.

Kelly also refers to herself "running" four girls.

In Facebook messages, Kelly "repeatedly" pushes for the victim to send through an intimate photo to send to a man, Marshall said.

The judges have reserved their decision.