Immigration officials ask sex workers to provide coffee and a chat & # 39;

Sex workers are asked by Immigration New Zealand officials for "coffee and chat".

According to the bureau, the text requests are part of an attempt to better understand the sex industry.

But INZ's approach is described by an immigration expert as "naive".

And the movement has made some sex workers feel uncomfortable, where an officer says he has to stick to e-mailing questions.

The woman said she received a text message from the officer who said he was doing some work with regard to the sex industry.

"Hey … I was told that you would be a good contact to talk to some of the girls I've already talked with," the INZ employee said in the text.

I was wondering if you might miss 30 minutes … for a cup of coffee and a chat? & # 39;

The sex worker was initially suspicious and asked for the e-mail and position of the man in INZ to verify his identity.

"I do not even have the time to meet my own family and friends for coffee," she said in reply.

The sex worker then asked that his questions be sent by e-mail instead.

Massey University sociologist and immigration expert Paul Spoonley said that the sex industry was ambiguous and poorly understood by government agencies.

"The use of migrant sex workers has always been subject to claims of illegality and exploitation of workers," said Professor Spoonley.

"The INZ approach seems relatively low, but perhaps naive, but there is an attempt to understand, but it is accompanied by a clear warning about illegality and deportation, which undermines the collection of evidence."

Spoonley also wondered whether this approach was an effective way to collect data about the sex industry.

Peter Devoy, INZ assistant general manager compliance, said the agency has taken a proactive approach to better understand problems within the sex industry as part of the broader work on exploitation.

In the past three years, deportation notifications have been served on 38 people with temporary visas and 27 have been deported – either by force or voluntarily.

"We recognize that temporary migrants, who violate their visa conditions by working in the sex industry in New Zealand, are vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous employers and customers," Devoy said.

"They are less interested in knowing their rights and rights than their New Zealand colleagues."

The Field Intelligence officers of the office gathered information to better understand the specific challenges within the sector.

Devoy said that at the moment he had no figures on how many sex workers there were or how many meetings had taken place.

He said that the work program was still in its initial stages.

Figures for the year up to 30 August show that 179 foreigners – men and women – were denied boarding flights or access was denied when they arrived in New Zealand because of suspicions that they planned to work in the sex industry.

The largest numbers came from Brazil (79), Taiwan (29) and Hong Kong (26).

"INZ does not grant a residence permit or temporary entry visa to anyone who has offered or intends to provide commercial sexual services," Devoy said.

This was in line with the Prostitution Reform Act, which stipulates that only New Zealand citizens and residents can legally work in the sex industry.

In addition to talking to prostitutes, Devoy also said that INZ officials would also train sex workers' employers about their rights and legal obligations.

"The purpose of this work is to … understand the current state of migrant sex work in New Zealand," Devoy said.

"Also to identify exploitation and tackle it with a focus on the entire industry and where necessary to regulate."

According to Devoy, compliance officers could enter any premises, either a brothel or a private property, without an order to serve or execute deportation papers.

"As long as there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person named in the notification or order is present and they provide commercial sexual services."

According to the agency, the information from sex workers will be used to support wider cross-border work to combat the exploitation of migrants.

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