Transgender woman Monica Jones made headlines when her tourist visa was canceled and she was deported after trying to reenter Australia in December. There were various reasons given for her deportation in the media, some verging on hyperbolic.
According to abc.net.au these are court documents of the conversation that Monica had with the border guards when she tried to reënter.
Officer: When you were here on your previous trip, did you work at all?
Officer: Did you do any work at all where you earned some money?
Ms Jones said she was volunteering with the Scarlet Alliance Sex Workers Association to learn about Australia’s sex worker laws and how the organisation operated.
According to the story the abc the border guard took a few moments totally out of the blue and googled Monica’s name looking for a link to prostitution in Australia. The article continues…
About 10 minutes later, the immigration officer presented an explicit online advertisement showing photos of Ms Jones in suggestive poses.
Earlier another officer had Google searched the ad.
Officer: That’s you. I see you …
Officer: … in that photograph. And yeah it appears to me to be an advertisement for working for …
Jones: Is that not legal here?
About ten minutes later according to the abc monica composed herself and responded…
Jones: Of course I did it. I did. But you have to ask yourself – I didn’t know that it would be an issue … I can’t say how sorry I am. I got caught, yes, and did I lie? Yes … I f***ed up and I didn’t mean to f*** up and I’m sorry and I know I lied.
Sex work in Australia isn’t illegal, just not if you are a visiting on a visa. Violating that provision is cause for deportation.
But targeting someone by using a government data base for a commercial enterprise which would ultimately dehumanize and victimize an already marginalized sector of society is reprehensible.
Monica says that exactly what happened. The abc story continues….
Ms Jones alleges a television crew from the Seven Network’s Border Security program filming part of the interview contributed to her unfair treatment by creating an “intimidating environment”.
In her affidavit, Ms Jones said she was approached by a member of the television program who said: “Your story is really interesting. We would like to film your interview.”
“The television producer knew details of my case, which I found to be a breach of my confidentiality,” Ms Jones’s affidavit said.
“It seemed to me that the DIBP had shared information about me with Border Security and I felt that if I refused that the DIBP would form a poor impression of me.
“Every aspect of the process gave me the impression that the television program was connected to the DIBP and its decision making.
“I refused a number of times. But though I refused, the producer of Border Security came back into the interview room to again persuade me. I felt pressured to consent to the filming by both DIBP staff and the producers of the show.”
Ms Jones said she was given the impression that agreeing to be filmed would help her case.
The interview transcript showed the television crew left the room after Ms Jones asked them to stop filming.
However, despite the crew having already left, the immigration officer brings up the issue.
Officer: Are you OK if they continue to film or do you want this to stop? This is what it goes like … they come in, they film, they clear out whenever you like. It is up to you completely, it’s your will. Whatever you want.
Jones: I just don’t like what is going on here.
According to abc, customs officials checked her phoe records before she left Australia and a preceding visit.
Monica has maintained that she was in country to complete her education and to investigate the country’s progressive prostitution laws. Perhaps she’s been at least partially successful . Foreign nationals, specifically sex workers, are at risk of being victimized from the moment they enter until they leave according to the Australian Sex Workers Association.