A woman who recruited women from Thailand to work illegally as sex workers in Auckland has been jailed.
Naengnoi Sriphet, a Thai national who has New Zealand citizenship, was sentenced to 27 months imprisonment at the Auckland District Court yesterday after being found guilty of offences under the Immigration Act.
Sriphet recruited two women from Thailand to work as massage therapists here, and encouraged and assisted one to become a sex worker.
She was found guilty of five offences under the Immigration Act 2009, including one charge of aiding or inciting one of the employees to breach her visa conditions by encouraging and facilitating her to work as a prostitute.
Under the Prostitution Reform Act 2003, holders of temporary visas cannot work in the sex industry.
In the last 12 months, 42 foreign nationals on temporary visas had been found by Immigration New Zealand working as prostitutes.
The agency conducted several visits to brothels and massage parlours, some with the police, including one to a Totaravale Rd residential property and another to a Chinese massage parlour in Mt Eden.
Most of the prostitutes found working unlawfully were from Asia - 18 from China, 14 from Hong Kong, three from Taiwan and one each from Malaysia, Thailand, Fiji, France, South Korea, Japan and Brazil.
More than half, or 25, were on a visitor visa, eight held student visas and seven were here on work visas. Two of the sex workers caught were overstayers.
In the course of investigation into Sriphet, Immigration discovered she had provided employees with employment agreements in Thai which were significantly different to those that she provided to the agency to support visa applications.
Earlier this year, Sriphet was found guilty of four charges of providing false or misleading information to Immigration, specifically the provision of false employment agreements and offer of employment letters.
42 - found in the last 12 months
18 - China
14 - Hong Kong
3 - Taiwan
1 - Malaysia, Thailand, Fiji, France, South Korea, Japan, Brazil
25 - visitor visa
8 - student visa
7 - work visa
2 - overstayers
(Source: Immigration New Zealand)