News/Australia: Numbers of sex slaves in Australia quadruples

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Subject: News/Australia: Numbers of sex slaves in Australia quadruples
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Thu Dec 09 1999 - 09:42:31 EST


           Fed: Numbers of sex slaves in Australia quadruples

AAP 12-9-99 11:14 AM

   By Debra Way
   CANBERRA, Dec 9 AAP - More than four times as many sex slaves are being
trafficked into Australia than there were two years ago, new figures
showed today.
   An Immigration Department report said the number of sex workers found
to be in Australia illegally had jumped from 56 in 1996-97 to 243 in
1998-99.
   Asian sex workers continued to make up most of the illegal immigrant
sex workers located in Australia.
   "Some women come to Australia by making their own arrangements," the
report said.
   "However, other women enter into a debt arrangement because they are
unable to get visas to work legally.
   "This situation may well have been forced upon them because of the
family's financial situation."
   Women trafficked into Australia to work in the sex industry mostly
arrived by air and were usually escorted into the country by a people
smuggling operative.
   "Smugglers who specialise in the movement of people from the Middle
East often recruit young, out of pocket European backpackers as escorts,"
the report said.
   "In the Asian networks the people recruited as escorts often owe a debt
of some kind to the smuggler or people associated with the network or
syndicate and are coerced into undertaking the role of escort to pay that
debt."
   New South Wales was home to 63 per cent of Australia's sex slaves, with
154 people identified.
   Victoria was next with 59 people or 24 per cent and Queensland with 14
people or six per cent.
   The report said the sex slaves were usually whisked away from the
airport on arrival and taken to a safe house or hotel where they were
inspected by potential employers, agents or brothel owners.
   A deal for the women's services was then negotiated between the escort
and a successful bidder.
   Many of the women found themselves stuck in a jail-like environment
under the complete control of brothel owners.
   The report said the women were under pressure to service as many
customers as possible in a short time and had no access to the money they
earned.
   AAP daw/mfh/cjh/br

Melanie Orhant

morhant@igc.org
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