Fears That Ads For Massage Parlours Are Luring International Students Into Illegal Sex Industry

Published August 02, 2019 (last updated July 20, 2020)

There are fears that advertisements for masseurs on a popular Chinese-language forum are luring vulnerable migrants into sexual exploitation.

Promising wages of thousands of dollars per week, the ads on yeeyi.com are advertising jobs at massage parlours in suburbs all across Melbourne, including Dandenong, Stonnington, Kingston and Casey.

One job on the website reads, “the female masseur is invited to be warm and responsible … ages below 33, with a work visa or student (visa)”, reports the Herald Sun.

Another job advertisement states, “commission can reach 47-50 per cent. Average weekly $1100 plus. Company can help ­arrange accommodation.”

Monash University Chinese Student Association vice-president Kai Zhang said that he’s seen many similar offers before, and it worries him.

“I’ve seen jobs ads offering thousands of dollars a week and obviously that’s indicating sexual favours,” Zhang said.

Pink Cross is a not-for-profit organisation that work to reduce and eliminate sexual exploitation. Pink cross director Genevieve Gilbert warned that these types of jobs offers usually result in underpaid workers being forced into sex work.

“What we’re seeing in some cases is women getting paid below minimum wage then ­relying on the extra money from providing sexual services,” Gilbert said.

Adding to the concerns for such type of advertisements was William Albon, spokesman for the Australian Adult Entertainment Industry. He said that were hundreds of international students working illegally in the sex industry in Melbourne.

“They are recruited direct from the colleges they are attending, often by a notice on college noticeboard, some are offered the choice — cleaning $8 an hour or a lot more for sex work,” Albon said.

Meanwhile, the Victorian Police have reiterated that they’re monitoring websites such as the above to keep an eye on potential sexual exploitation.

“In addressing illegal brothels, police have spoken to illegal workers representing a range of backgrounds. Some of the workers have included international students,” Inspector Jodie Buckley said.

Making it worse, many illegal brothels are only open for small amounts of time to avoid detection. Inspector Buckley said the police believe that there were hundreds of illegal brothels in Victoria.

“This number can fluctuate because premises can be opened and closed with relative ease,” he said.

Greater Dandenong Council spokesman Jody Bosman also added that 10 massage parlours had been closed down by the council in the last year.

“Council officers undertake cold-call inspections each time we become aware that a new massage parlour has opened in the city,” Mr Bosman said.

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