Sex workers are using a bilingual sex information leaflet to recruit international students and other young Chinese women into the industry.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a 20-year-old Chinese international student told the Weekend Herald she decided to become a sex worker after being given the Working in New Zealand leaflet, which is produced by the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective.

"It is not easy for international students to find employment in New Zealand, and reading the brochure made me feel less afraid of getting into sex work," she said in Mandarin.

Older, more experienced prostitutes hand the booklets to young Chinese women.

The brochure spells out, in Chinese and English, exactly how to start working in the sex industry - including advice on what to wear, getting started, how to select a working name and how to perform sex tricks.

"Young Asian girls are being recruited by older sex workers, who use us to get new customers, and work with them to provide a bi-double service to make more money," she said.

Working privately from a North Shore City suburb, the business student, who came to New Zealand on a student permit, said she knew of at least three other Chinese students - not all on student permits - who turned to sex work after receiving the leaflets. The brochures are readily available for pickup at the reception counter at the collective's Auckland office in Karangahape Rd, but they are also distributed by its volunteers and staff.

Although prostitution was decriminalised in 2003, it is unlawful for any person on a temporary permit to work in the sex industry, says Immigration New Zealand.

"Immigration New Zealand takes all allegations of this nature seriously and will take action against any individual found to be breaching the conditions of their permit in this way," said department head Nigel Bickle.

A police source said Auckland police were also alarmed at the rising number of ads in local Chinese media promoting "student sex".

The source said police had been alerted to high numbers of massage classifieds advertising the services of "young girls" or "international students" in local Chinese daily the Mandarin Pages.

But Auckland City police area commander Inspector Andrew Coster said there was no evidence to suggest international students were "being pressured" into the sex industry.

"We have been receiving very positive feedback from our international students who say they feel safe in our city," said Mr Coster, who also chairs the Asian international students crime and safety focus group.

"Police are aware that international students could be considered a vulnerable community for a whole range of reasons, hence the special attention given to ensuring their safety while they enjoy the high-quality education offered in this country."

Mr Coster said people with information of temporary permit breaches should contact Immigration NZ.

Prostitutes Collective national co-ordinator Catherine Healy said the brochures were printed to promote health and safety among sex workers and those intending to work in the sex industry.

She said of about 1700 sex workers in Auckland, 10 to 25 per cent were Asian, mainly Chinese.

Although the collective periodically counted Auckland's sex workers by visiting massage parlours and checking ads and websites, it did not count how many were international students, she said.

"There is bound to be some intersection between those who come here to study and do sex work.

"Sex workers throughout the world travel and work illegally, and it would be irresponsible for us to ignore sex workers just because of their immigration status.

"We have no financial interest in sex workers' business and it is ridiculous to imply the resources we have translated into Chinese would be responsible for encouraging people to take up sex work."

ADVICE TO NEW PROSTITUTES
Your first client: You may feel nothing can prepare you for the reality of a first encounter with a client but, like any new experience, it can be made easier with support, information and a confident attitude.

Beforehand: How you look and how you behave will attract different sorts of clients and can also influence how they treat you. Choosing a working name that is not too different from your own can help cover up any slip-ups. Whatever you wear needs to be easy to remove and put back on in a hurry.

Getting started: Sex-work is like any other customer service role. Do not volunteer the information that he is your first client, and do your best to create the impression that you are an experienced worker who knows what the score is, even if your workplace pushes the fact that you are a new girl because it is good for business.

Surviving the workplace: Most places offer work contracts. Strike out anything you don't agree with ... Make sure you are clear about how you will be paid.

Common problems: Older clients may believe they can perform despite the real situation. You may choose to engage in "trick sex" with these clients.

Conclusion: Realistically you will not feel like having a sexually good time with clients; of course, if you do, that is fine. Good luck with your first client. NZPC hopes this will help make your introduction to sex work a little easier.

- Prostitutes Collective's Working in New Zealand leaflet.