Prostitutes, Traffickers Abusing Australian Visa Rules

      April 25, 2007 10:34

      On September 25, a Korean cram school instructor left for Australia with a "working holiday" visa. The working holiday visa is available to people between 18 and 30 from certain countries including South Korea who want to visit Australia and supplement their travel funds through incidental employment.

      A broker had told the instructor that she could learn English and make money by working in a restaurant, but when she arrived in Australia she was forced into prostitution in a Chinese-run brothel in New South Wales.

      The brothel manager took the instructor's passport and visa and forced her to service customers until she paid off a "debt" of US$20,000 (US$1=W928). On Oct. 14, the instructor took a day off due to menstruation and managed to contact the local police and escape.

      Police here say that Australia's working holiday visa rules are increasingly abused by Koreans going overseas for prostitution. Recently Seoul Metropolitan Police indicted without detention three traffickers who had sent 89 Korean women including college students to red-light districts in Australia.

      While some of the trafficked women were duped liked the instructor, many knew exactly what they were getting into. "Ms. H" was one of them. H left Seoul for Australia on a working holiday visa after she saw an online advertisement that promised wages of up to W4 million a month for working in "bars." H ended up in a saloon for Koreans in Sydney.

      "Since the anti-prostitution laws came into effect, the number of overseas prostitution cases has been growing rapidly," a police official said. "Overseas prostitutes even include office workers and college students."

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