NZ Herald Jul 12, 2010
New Zealand is a destination country for human trafficking from Malaysia, Hong Kong, China and other Asian countries for sexual exploitation. Asian women lured to New Zealand with cash offers to work in the sex industry are being forced to work in slave-like conditions, a Herald investigation has found. The women, mainly from Malaysia, are recruited by agents who offer cash up front of up to $10,000 plus air tickets to come to New Zealand. But once here, the women are handed to brothel owners, who take their passports and make them work up to 18 hours a day to repay the “loan”. Police were called to a central Auckland brothel this month to help retrieve the passport of a Malaysian sex worker who wanted to leave the country. Auckland Central area commander Andrew Coster told the Herald that brothel management had been holding the woman’s passport, but returned it when the officers appeared. Police could not pursue the matter because the woman – who came to New Zealand on a visitor’s permit – was focused on leaving the country and did not want to press charges.