Older Story: New Zealand deals with influx of Asian prostitutes

Asian students lured into sex trade in New Zealand

By Lincoln Tan
May 29, 2006

WHEN her parents returned home and left her alone in a foreign country, Korean student Suzie had to find a way to fend for herself.

She claimed she could barely make ends meet with her measly pay as a grocery-shop worker in Auckland, New Zealand.

Desperate for money, Suzie turned to prostitution.

The 19-year-old business student told The New Paper on Sunday: ‘I tried to get part-time work, but the only job I could get was at an Asian grocery shop paying $180 per week.

Joy turned into the shock: Sarah Wang thought she has struck gold when she was offered NZ$2,000 for a few days’ modelling work. But she later found out the work involved posing nude for a calendar.

‘The money was not enough for my rent, which is $110 per week, and living expenses.’

Suzie is not the only cash-strapped foreign student turning to vice to make a quick buck.

Indeed, it’s becoming a worrying trend as authorities cite growing numbers of foreign students who become prostitutes.

And judging by some advertisements placed by prostitutes in the Kiwi papers, some Singaporean women may also be plying the sex trade in New Zealand.


A joint investigation by The New Zealand Herald and English-language Asian newspaper iball revealed that the number of foreign prostitutes in Auckland has gone up in the past three years.

The newspaper reports quoted a study done last year by the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC), a taxpayer funded organization set up to look after the welfare of sex workers.

The study shows a 25 per cent increase in foreign sex workers since prostitution was legalised in New Zealand in 2003.

One of the authors of the study, nurse specialist Bronwyn Schofield said ‘probably two-thirds’ of the 38 foreign sex workers she had interviewed since then were Chinese women.

Many were students aged between 18 and 24, who told her they were desperate for cash or that they did it for ‘easy money’.

These women are breaking the law as students and tourists in New Zealand are barred from sex work.

Auckland had about 1,500 sex workers, said NZPC’s regional co-ordinator Kate Dickie. Many were sole traders working from apartments or suburban homes.

NZPC counts sex workers by trawling through parlours and checking ads and websites.

The Kiwi police also pointed out that international students in the sex industry is an increasing problem, the Herald reported.

Staff at NZPC also noticed ‘an increase in Chinese sex workers coming from parts of Asia where they speak Cantonese’.

The increase was most noticeable in ‘areas where there are language schools and universities’.

By monitoring ads in newspapers, on TV and the Internet, NZPC believes that most Asian prostitutes are Chinese.

Ten years ago, Thais made up the bulk of Asian prostitutes, but changes to visa rules have led to fewer Thais and more Chinese entering the country


Some Singaporean women in New Zealand appear to be selling their bodies as well.

This reporter spotted five advertisements in the local papers placed by prostitutes who claimed they were Singaporean women.

Ms Schofield, who ran a weekly sexual health clinic at the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, said that some student prostitutes were forced into ‘no-condom sex’ because they were naive and vulnerable.

They think that if a client looked clean and healthy, sex without condoms is safe.

She also believed some brothel owners employ illegal workers to have more control and sway over them.

Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted disease in New Zealand, soaring 39 per cent in the last five years. Those under 25 are most at risk.

Suzie admits she has ‘no-condom sex’ with her clients if they are prepared to pay her more.

‘Sex without condoms will cost the clients $30 to $50 more. Kiwi and European prostitutes usually will not entertain requests for ‘no-condom sex’.’

She said her clients, mainly Caucasian men, prefer Asian prostitutes as most of them are ‘younger, cheaper and prepared to do more’.

Dora, a 21-year-old Chinese prostitute, said: ‘Men come to me because I am cheaper (than the local prostitutes), but I make money from charging extra for doing things that other sex workers dare not do like giving oral sex without condoms.

Caucasian prostitutes charge between $200 and $600 per hour, while Asian ones charge between $80 and $140 per hour. Half-hour sessions start from as low as $40.

Earlier this month, New Zealand also saw the launch of its first Chinese-language porn magazine, Kiwinight.

The first issue has a nude pictorial feature of Gigi, a Malaysian sex worker in Auckland, explicit pictures of young Chinese women, adult cartoons, advertisements of local brothels and $10 cut-out discount coupons.

Chinese students Sarah Wang and Kiki Chen nearly got lured into the sleaze trade.

Miss Wang, 24, a business student and part-time model, told The New Paper on Sunday that she was offered NZ$2,000 ($2,023) for a few days’ work at a local modelling agency.

But as it turned out, that ‘work’ was to pose nude for a Year of the Dog calendar featuring naked young Asian women.

A businessman had also once dangled a house and Porsche in front of her to get her to become his mistress.

Another man offered her NZ$20,000 to be his girlfriend for a week.

Though she admitted she was tempted by some of the offers, she turned all down because she ‘must think of my future husband’.

She said: ‘For most girls, money comes easy for them in China. They only have to ask their parents. But when they come here and sometimes have to depend on themselves, they don’t know what to do.’

‘I know I can choose an easy path in life, but I don’t know if it will make me happy in the long term,’ she said.

‘I still think working hard and finding a husband who is equally hardworking and who loves you is the path to long term happiness.’

Miss Chen, 21, a graphics-design student, who has done fashion modelling for a Kiwi Chinese website, was offered an undisclosed sum of money to bare all for a pictorial spread in a Chinese-language porn magazine.

She, too, turned down the offer.

‘No decent Chinese girl who has been raised right by her parents would consider doing something like pose for a porn magazine,’ she explained.

Miss Wang said: ‘Girls who want to get involved with the porn industry or become prostitutes are just destroying their lives. It is a dead end and there will be many problems for them later.’


Miss Chen agreed: ‘They are giving the rest of us Chinese a bad name and a bad image. If they have no money, then they should just go home.’

Ms Schofield said there was an urgent need for more programmes to educate student prostitutes.

‘We need some way of getting into the places they are working and educating them properly… before the negative influences take a hold.’

NZPC has got help from Mandarin-speaking volunteers, but many Chinese sex workers are hard to reach as they tend to shy away from the authorities.

from http://newpaper.asia1.com.sg/news/s…,107373,00.html


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