Sunday, May 27, 2012

We will always be strangers (foreigners,prostitution and immigration)

A thread was started on Adult Forum ( a few days ago: one of the members (male) wanted clarification on the laws re. entering New Zealand for the sole purpose of sex work.
As it stands, it is illegal to do so. This law was adopted to curb human trafficking mostly.

What it means, an individual cannot apply for a visa and state "sex work" as the sole purpose. They also cannot be a sex worker while on a visitor or student visa in New Zealand.
However, once a resident or a citizen, individual is free to do whatever work they choose (or none whatsoever,as case is with some people).

The thread was actually well replied to by several members and law was quoted, so I thought it was all clearly explained.

But then one of the members made a comment asking me if I was Russian. As my handle on that Forum is "YanaTheRussian", I thought question a bit odd, but replied: Indeed, I am.
Next thing I know, there is a private message in my inbox from that same member. Here's how it read "So...hoe=w do you get to work in the sex industry then? (Didn't want to ask this in public forum" <SIC>

When I saw that, I became speechless for a minute.
Clearly, the person assumes that because I am Russian, I am here temporarily on a visa. It never even occurred to him that I might actually be a Kiwi (which,in fact, I am).
The lack of proper greeting (no "Hello",etc, no name/signature in the end) shows profound disrespect (or maybe just plain old lack of manners).
It is obvious that he assumes I am working illegally (as he "doesn't want to ask this in a public forum").
Also, I am not entirely sure if "hoe=w" was a typo or if it was meant as a deliberate insult.

This guy simply cannot comprehend that there are "Russian Kiwis", "Chinese Kiwis","Indian Kiwis",etc. To him, if the person is of a country of origin other than New Zealand, he is a visiting foreigner, a stranger.

This attitude is not at all uncommon. Although I have a lot of wonderful, open-minded friends who were born and bred here, in New Zealand, and who treat me as equal, there are plenty of those who do not. To them I will always be a stranger in their country. New Zealand is not as open minded as people would like you to believe.
This attitude is nothing new to me: I've encountered plenty of it in US and, to some degree, in Australia. I've long since learned to deal with it. But every once in a while, it does get to me.
The fact that when I say "I am from Russia" people assume straight away that I am "fresh from the boat" does grate. Often I am treated as a "stupid foreign chick" just because I speak with an accent. Often I get booked because guys assume I would provide them with unprotected sex, seeing how I am from a "poor country" and will be glad for the opportunity to make *whatever* money.. Pffft... It gets old after a while (and it's been a long while).

Fact is, I am Russian because I was born  and spent my early years there. I haven't been back to Russia in a very long time.
I am a US Citizen and hold a US passport. I am also a New Zealand Citizen and hold NZ passport. And,yes, I have a Russian passport as well and am a Citizen there,too. Multiple Citizenships are allowed and they are nothing new (I will be getting Australian passport as well :).

I've moved to New Zealand from US because I wanted a quieter life and to be surrounded by nicer people (the latter is a "hit-and-miss",unfortunately).

I've never taken advantage of NZ, but rather contributed to the economy.
I.e: I have NZQA verified education of Level 7, which I received elsewhere (so didn't take advantage of NZ student loan scheme) and brought my expertise here. I am a qualified clinical psychologist and advanced level hospitality Manager.
That's exactly the field I worked at when I first arrived to NZ: I was a Restaurant Manager in a very fast-paced upscale restaurant. New Zealand does not have any career hospitality professionals (the handful there are all came from overseas)- hence Hospitality jobs being on both short-term AND long-term skills shortage list of Immigration NZ.
The owner of the restaurant I worked at in Hawkes Bay was American and she was tearing her hair out (sometimes literally) in frustration, as all the applicants were high school kids who's experience in dining out was limited to McDonald's and Rosy O'Grady's. They simply did not have the knowledge to even comprehend complex dishes, yet alone describe them to the customers.
I've spent over a year in that restaurant doing average 150 PAX PER SHIFT (multiply that by two for the day),writing  procedures manual, implementing  protocols for weddings/functions and training the staff.
I also worked in another restaurant that won Cuisine Magazine Award that year (60% of the award is judged for food, 20% for service and another 20% for ambiance). I am very proud to have served Chef Sara Simpson's food to the judges of the Cuisine.

During that time I didn't work in the sex industry at all. I've only decided to do sex work exclusively in the last couple of years,as it allows me the flexibility to pursue my other interests and provides me with adequate income at the same time.

I do my bit for economy, as I spend fair amount of money here (some of which comes from my rental income in US). All those beauty treatments,massages,pretty clothes/shoes do not come cheap. Not to mention thousands and thousands of dollars Air New Zealand got from me: I travel a lot and use Air NZ exclusively, as I am a Koru Member.
No, of course I am not saying that I am a major contributor, but every little bit helps and consumer spending is what drives the economy,especially in these uncertain times.
I have never taken advantage of New Zealand welfare system in any shape or form, either.
Now that I do sex work exclusively, I operate  as a business and have an accountant and pay taxes.

I know there are small-minded people everywhere-there is no escaping them. But it does annoy me when people make assumptions based on THEIR lack of understanding.

Take the guy who messaged me, for instance: he could ASK if I was a resident/citizen first (which would be perfectly fine), but instead he ASSUMED that I was not, only because I said I was originally from Russia.
I wonder if he asks the same question of the girls from,say,UK? Because they ARE, in fact, foreigners in NZ until they go through proper immigration process and become residents. Or because they are white,have English-sounding names and English is their first language, they "belong" while the rest of us don't?


  1. So true. Its like being a soldier. When you are a private military contractor they think that you have no loyalty, won't fight as hard for their country or cause and don't understand patriotism. The fact is that you are a professional and don't need fairy stories to motivate you - and that they can't understand or accept. So you accept that to some, you will always be an alien in the country you call home.

  2. Yana, this country is lucky to have you.

    I have a similar problem with people thinking that European and Maori are mutually exclusive terms, despite my being a British citizen from birth.

    Anyone with half a brain knows that you are an asset to NZ and reflect better on us than the fool who cast his aspersions in that post :)

    Paris. x