From Human Trafficking To Sex Slavery

Jason Gregory

Lured.. ..some women have been forced or tricked into coming to Australia for sex work.
Federal police chasing sex slaves working in Brisbane are placing classified advertisements seeking public assistance to curb illegal trafficking.

Experts said the ads proved the difficulty police had in stopping the "well-established practice" of Asian and other overseas women working in Australia under trafficking contracts, either by faking visa applications or being held on a debt bondage.

The ad said some sex workers have been forced or tricked into sex work.

"Some have no choice over who they have sex with or what kind of sex work they do. They may not have access to the same health and safety services or work conditions as other sex workers," it reads.

Twilight at noon: Multimedia report on Queensland's illegal sex tradeMost of the women in question are from Thailand and other Asian countries, with a smaller percentage from Eastern Europe.

An AFP spokeswoman said the ads were part of the Government's long war on people smuggling.

Criminologist Paul Wilson said there were examples of trafficking involving extortion and blackmail with a woman's "trip" paid for by an agent and sometimes crime gangs.

"She must then work as a prostitute to repay the debt. Many are willing participants but some did not know they are going to be prostitutes," he said. "Some will service clients all day and night and are sometimes physically abused."

"Sometimes there are threats made against (Asian-based) relatives of the woman and the amount of money demanded be repaid is often an inflated figure."

Spokesman for the Queensland Adult Business Association Nick Inskip likened it to rape.

"The hardest thing to detect is when they come here for a few months and go home with their $1000 or $2000, having made the crime gangs $20,000 or more tax free," he said.

Spokesman for the Eros Foundation Robbie Swan warned authorities were "never going to win this war" while refusing to issue proper working visas to overseas prostitutes.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said there were no plans to review the classification of overseas prostitutes.

Scarlet Alliance president Janelle Fawkes said there had been very few convictions for sex trafficking in Australia and only one in Queensland under laws created to crack down on international sex slavery.

She said there could be between 300 and 400 women in Australia working under a trafficking contract, but only a small percentage of those were in Queensland.

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