Allegations South Auckland is rife with witch doctors preying on vulnerable people have prompted a stern warning from immigration officials.
An Immigration New Zealand spokeswoman said today they had identified several individuals who appeared to be involved in the activity of requesting large sums of money from people in exchange for prayers made on their behalf.
The 'healers' promise financial and relationship success in exchange for sums that reach into the thousands.It's believed the small businesses are a network of individuals who are often in New Zealand on working visas and move around to avoid being caught.
Immigration New Zealand today issued a severe warning to the perpetrators, saying anyone receiving payment for this type of activity was in breach of their visa conditions, whether they were on a visitor or temporary work visa.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"We would strongly encourage people not to be taken in by anyone offering these types of services - they cannot help you, all they are interested in is their own financial gain."
Auckland community leader Pratima Nand said the witch doctors should not be operating in the community.
"They are here to suck money out of people. They are leaving people in a very devastated state - suffering mentally, psychologically ... after losing large sums of money," she said.
"It has got to a stage where South Auckland is swarming with these witchcraft and black magic so-called priests."
According to Ms Nand, the witch doctors are moving from country to country.
Immigration New Zealand is warning people to look out for vulnerable family members and to report any suspicious advertisements to the agency on 0508 55 88 55 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
- With additional reporting from NewstalkZB