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Sex workers go to Australia under working holiday cover

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- It was recently reported in the media that some local prostitutes traveled to Australia as backpackers under the working holiday program to engage in the sex industry.

Sources said that starting about a year ago, some local restaurants in west Australia started to hire waitresses to provide “special services,” and some of them came from Asian countries, including Taiwan.

According to a Taiwanese person living in Australia, some professional sex workers from Taiwan have enrolled in the working holiday program to provide sex services in Australia, where they are able to earn a much higher compensation, compared with the pay in Taiwan. According to the reports, the women entered the country specifically to work in the sex industry, and were not simply backpackers opting to make some extra cash.

Reports say that more and more massage businesses started to engage in illegal services, which were promoted under the slogan “Taiwanese girls” to attract business. Although the sex trade is not strictly illegal in Australia, the fact that Taiwanese women are taking part in the trade hurts Taiwan's global image.

Finding Work in Australia

According to statistics released by Australia's immigration office, between July 2012 and June 2013, over 35,000 working holiday visas were issued by the Australian government to Taiwanese, which is an increase of 59 percent year-on-year. The number of workers from Taiwan was second only to those from Great Britain.

It has become increasingly difficult for backpackers to find jobs in Australia. Many are so eager to find work that they enter into base-level jobs at places such as restaurants, farms and meat processing factories, oftentimes at lower than minimum wage and without proper insurance.

Many jobs at farms or orchards are seasonal and not available year-round. Nevertheless, with a minimum wage much higher than that of Taiwan, traveling to Australia to earn money has become a trend for many local young people in recent years. Compared with base-level employment, sex services are a way to generate a higher income.

Misuse of Program

According to Anna Kao (高安), spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the working holiday program set up between the governments was originally intended to broaden Taiwanese young people' horizons, enhance their international competitiveness, encourage cultural exchanges and so on.

Kao said that the working holiday platform allows young people without substantial financial means to travel abroad for an extended period of time. Young people who are enrolled in the program ought to solicit help from legitimate employment agencies, and watch for work details before signing any work contracts. It is also highly advised that young people abide by local laws, and ensure their workplace and travel safety, Kao added.

December 30, 2013    miller.henry641@
Wh*res, and politicians, always follow the money.
December 30, 2013    pistons2005champions@
The Taiwanese government should be ashamed of itself at providing such low minimum wages that people need to go to other countries to provide sex services [...] (despite the GREAT 6 NTD/hr hike just reported on)
December 30, 2013    asianviews48@
I am from Perth (a Malaysian Chinese migrant for 15 years) and have come across or met many young Taiwanese women on working holidays here.

It is untrue that young Taiwanese are here working as prostitutes, though there may be a few who individually may have strayed. A few black sheep, if ever were there, are not portrayal of all Taiwanese women here.

In fact, the Taiwanese women who work in restaurants in Western Australia are exemplary workers. They are genuine waitresses working in genuine restaurants. If they do work as massagers/prostitutes, they have to do it in genuine licensed massage parlors as policing in Perth is very strict and efficient by the local authorities.

Please do not tarnish the overall good reputation of Taiwanese women who works in Perth vis-a-vis Western Australia.

It is an affront to us Australians for others to imply that Taiwanese work as prostitutes in restaurants to attract customers as Perth is a well run decent city/state and our City and Police authorities are efficient. No where would our authorities permit it in restaurants, unless they work in properly licensed regulated brothels and massage parlors.

Though I should have no personal interest in your article, but we Australians are fair dickum who would not let unfair comments be pass on good decent Taiwanese woman.
January 2, 2014    viaboston@
This is just hilarious, the writer says this "hurts Taiwan's global image." Haha...first of all, if Taiwanese companies paid people reasonable salaries not the pittances people earn there, this wouldn't happen. It's so bizarre when ENGLISH teachers earn more than most Taiwanese, haha, so pathetic. Secondly, disgustingly hypocritical, Taiwan is one of the main sources of human trafficking in Asia with women being forced into prostitution here from countries all over Asia, including China, Vietnam, Philippines, etc, so typical that the Taiwanese have a holier than thou approach, ohhhh Taiwanese are prostitutes, how can that be...we are too good for that and people will think so poorly of us abroad. Face it Taiwanese, you can't even stand up to China, declare independence and have some sort of say in global affairs, who the heck cares about one has a clue about this in the USA nor cares, get over yourselves...
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