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International students targeted in sex scams in New Zealand

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Indian students are being tricked into going to isolated places for sex, where they could be robbed.

Criminals are using sex scams to blackmail international students, or lure them to isolated locations to rob them, Counties Manukau police in New Zealand have said.

This new scam has surfaced in Auckland where international students, especially South Asian males, are being targeted for extortion, Radio New Zealand reports.

According to Counties Manukau police inspector Nga-Wati Chaplow, Indian students are being tricked into going to isolated places for sex, where they could be robbed.

"Relationships are developed over social media, promises are made. These victims expose themselves at the request of the female party and the blackmail goes from there," he told Radio New Zealand.

"There are websites where liaisons are arranged in the community. The liaison is a front so the males become victims of robbery."

An exact figure about the number of students affected is not available with the police but Inspector Chaplow said there had been a trend in the area.

Some students have turned to prostitution to support themselves

Many students, who borrow heavily to pursue international education in New Zealand, turn to prostitution when they are unable to find jobs to support them.

Radio New Zealand spoke to New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective national coordinator Catherine Healy who said students from a various countries were working in New Zealand's sex industry.

Ms Healy said their number is comparatively less but these women are vulnerable and are reluctant to report about exploitation cause immigration laws do not allow international students to work in the sex industry.

They fear that if their work is discovered, they will be deported.

Ms Healy also said that most of the students she had spoken to, had said they were comfortable with the work, though they would not do it in their own country.

Heavy debts compel students to take up crime and prostitution, says police

SBS Hindi, earlier this month, had reported about how desperate international students were turning to crime and prostitution in New Zealand.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand’s Voices, Sergeant Gurpreet Arora from Counties Manukau had said some students have borrowed heavily to get international education and when they are unable to find jobs to repay those loans, some turned to other means.

He said, “The journey starts from India when they apply for their students visas. Many of the families take loans back home. It is expected from those students that once they come here they will repay their loans. So once they come here, if they are not able to find a job and they’re desperate, they resort to other means; committing crime, prostitution.”

In worst case scenarios there have also been unwanted pregnancies, homicides or suicides.

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