Foreign prostitutes work here to make money but enter as tourists

Two South Korean sex workers and their pimp, on short-term temporary visas, are facing several charges in Auckland including failure to adopt safe sex practices and operating a prostitution business that promotes unsafe sex practices.

It is alleged that over a 20-day period between October 28 and November 19, one sex worker had 196 customers, including 58 customers that she gave unprotected oral sex and six who paid extra to ejaculate in her mouth at a Hobson St apartment.

“In recent years there has been a steady increase in sex workers from a number of countries travelling to New Zealand to work in the local sex industry,” the police summary of facts said.

Last year, 97 people were stopped from boarding flights or entering New Zealand because they were suspected of travelling to work in the sex industry, up from 67 in 2013, according to figures released by Immigration New Zealand.

In the past three years, 42 foreign nationals have been found illegally working in the sex industry by Immigration New Zealand.

Twenty-five came on visitors’ visas, eight on student visas, seven on work visas and two were overstayers.

Immigration adviser Tuariki Delamere, who had represented more than 30 foreign sex workers on immigration matters, believed the actual number of illegal prostitutes was much higher.

“Immigration’s figures are only of those detected, but my guess is the numbers are possibly 10 times higher,” he said.

“The law is just stupid, it drives foreign prostitutes underground and makes it hard to ensure occupational health and safety laws are kept.”

Under the Prostitution Reform Act 2003, only New Zealand citizens and residents can work in the sex industry.

Mr Delamere said because of the law, foreign prostitutes were not accessing local support agencies and did not know where to get free condoms that were available for sex workers.

“The big worry, of course, is that many of them start offering unprotected sex and put Kiwis at risk of sexually transmitted infections,” he said.

New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective national co-ordinator Catherine Healy said it was not a new trend for prostitutes to travel to New Zealand to work.

“Some sex workers travel and work in other countries, just like people in other occupations,” Ms Healy said.

“Regardless of their immigration status, it is very upsetting to see sex workers being prosecuted and condoms used as evidence against them.

“All sex workers must be able to work in safe conditions.”

Tuariki Delamere is deliberately avoiding the major point:  these women are not here on a work visa.  It’s all very well that they are “driven underground”, but they are supposed to be tourists, not running a business.

I have no problem with the concept of prostitutes coming here to work on a work visa, just like people that come here to do concerts or tours need to do.  At that point, all the health and safety responsibilities and protections neatly click in place.   If the law needs change to allow for it, let’s change it.

For those that have a go – throw the book at them for immigration offences.   The fact they had unprotected sex is between them and their idiot clients.  I support any Darwinian outcome there.


– Lincoln Tan, NZ Heral

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