[Stop-traffic] News/UK: Scots Sauna Boss Held Me as a Sex Slave

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/UK: Scots Sauna Boss Held Me as a Sex Slave
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Feb 06 2001 - 09:06:28 EST


Scots Sauna Boss Held Me as a Sex Slave
They Come to Scotland Illegally for a New Life... And End Up in Crime and
Prostitution
Russell Findlay Exclusive
Sunday Mail (Glasgow), January 14, 2001, p. 24

A PAIR of terrified Chinese girls fled Scotland after being forced to work
as prostitutes by Triad crime bosses.

The teenagers were brought into the country as companions for a Chinese
lady but, within days of their arrival, were taken to Glasgow.

They were put in a flat and badly beaten up before being set to work in a
Glasgow sex sauna, owned by Chinese businessman Dominic Woo.

They faced an eight-month ordeal at the hands of the Triads before escaping
and fleeing back to China.

The girls are part of a growing exodus of young men and woman fleeing the
poverty-stricken Fujian province of China.

The global trade in humans is a growing concern to police forces worldwide
and increasing numbers of illegal immigrants end their exhausting journeys
in cities across Scotland.

In Glasgow alone, Strathclyde Police believe there could be 20,000 Chinese
aliens.

Many of them are slaves to the three main Triad gangs in Scotland and spend
years paying off the pounds 20,000 which the gangs charge to bring them here.

Retired detective Les Trueman helped investigate the sauna case last year
after being tipped off by the Immigration Service, who had been stunned to
find two tearful Chinese girls pleading for help at Glasgow Airport.

He said: "These girls were obviously determined to escape and that was
either a very brave or very stupid thing to do."

The girls told how they had responded to a newspaper advert in their
homeland, placed by a woman who needed female travelling companions to the UK.

They jumped at the chance and spent an exciting few days sightseeing with
the woman and her nephews in London.

Several days later, they were offered the chance to visit Edinburgh - but
that was when their eight-month ordeal at the hands of the Triads began.

One Strathclyde Police officer said: "They flew into Glasgow Airport, then
were taken to a flat and badly beaten up.

"They were effectively held prisoner there and forced to work as
prostitutes in the Venus sauna."

After several months, the girls were given more freedom to leave their flat
in Glasgow's Paisley Road.

One evening, they phoned a regular visitor to the Venus, a married man from
Ayrshire, on his mobile phone, asking him to come and collect them.

When he did, they leapt into his car with their few belongings and demanded
to be taken to Glasgow Airport.

Mr Trueman said: "They were then deported back to China, but that was an
exceptional case.

"There wasn't much we could do from a police point of view, as the girls
were no longer in the country, but we did trace the man to his home in
Ayrshire.

"He had helped them escape and I'm sure they were very grateful."

The girls were lucky. But thousands of other young illegal immigrants are
trapped in slavery after being lured here by the "Snakeheads", the term
used in China for traffickers in humans.

In recent years, the Snakeheads have smuggled Thai, Chinese, and, more
recently, Russian girls into Glasgow.

A police officer said: "One Glasgow gangster has been bragging that he
bought a Thai girl for pounds 1500 to work in his sauna. She will earn that
in a week for him."

PC Peter Clark, of the Metropolitan Police Chinatown Liaison Unit, is an
expert on the Snakeheads.

He said: "Villagers in Fujian see the Snakeheads as their only means of
providing their children with a chance of a new life in the West.

"Parents will try to get together maybe pounds 20,000 to get a son or
daughter into the UK.

"That will pay for fake passports or the smuggling of these people into the
country and the journeys can be quite horrendous.

"There are reports of them being washed up on the shore at Dover and many
have been found walking along the motorway towards London."

Last year, 58 people from Fujian province were found suffocated to death in
the back of a lorry at Dover.

PC Clark added: "The problem is, very few families can afford to pay the
pounds 20,000 up front to the local Snakehead.

"That means, if they do get to the UK, there will be an outstanding debt
which has to be paid off. Many are effectively slaves to the Triads and it
can take many years to pay off the debt.

"When they get here, most will claim political asylum, perhaps saying they
face persecution at home because of their religious beliefs.

"But the wonderful life of opportunity that their parents had dreamed about
often turns into a nightmare of crime and prostitution."

Young men make up around 90 per cent of the human misery from China's
Fujian province, while the rest are girls in their teens or early 20s.

Many of the young men are forced into organised crime run by the three main
Triad gangs in Scotland, while girls may be kidnapped and beaten before
being forced into a life of prostitution.

Girls aged under 16 will be kept in flats for exclusive use by Chinese
customers before 'graduating' to saunas and then being discarded.

Another police officer, a veteran of the South East Asia Intelligence Unit,
said: "Even the Home Office can't say how many legal Chinese immigrants
live in Glasgow, but it's estimated at around 20,000.

"Trying to estimate the number of illegal ones is impossible. It could well
be as many again, and it's getting higher by the day."

Glasgow has the fourth-largest Chinese population in the United Kingdom,
after London, Manchester and Birmingham.

Now police fear the steady stream of young male illegal immigrants will
only fuel rivalries between the three main Triad gangs in Scotland - the Wo
Shing Wo, the 14k and the Tai Huen Chai, which means 'Big Circle'.

They thrive on money-lending, credit card fraud, protection rackets,
illegal gambling dens and prostitution, and are traditionally detached from
Scotland's mainstream, largely native, criminal underworld.

Most established Chinese families have no involvement with the Triads but
would not dare to speak out against them to police.

The 14k and Wo Shing Wo are mainly Hong Kong Chinese, while mainland
immigrants, often ex-People's Army, form the Big Circle.

Last year, a report by the National Criminal Intelligence Service warned of
a potential war between the rival gangs on the streets of Britain.

Strathclyde Police have dealt with many brutal gang fights and knife
attacks, but the victims never make an official complaint.

As the seemingly endless flood of immigrants into the UK continues, many
more are heading across the border to Scotland.

PC Clark said: "Many of these people congregate in Glasgow because it has a
Chinatown and plenty of Chinese restaurants that can provide work.

"The main route into the UK is still through Dover but the Snakeheads will
use any method at all.

"There are strong links between Hong Kong Chinese people throughout the
United Kingdom

"For example, a Snakehead in Glasgow would have contact with his
counterparts in London, who would, in turn, be connected to those in Europe
and farther afield.

"We do know of people in Glasgow who have connections here in London.

"Now, the restaurant trade in London and the Home Counties has been
overwhelmed by illegal immigrants.

"Over the years, they've been drifting farther north and that is why so
many are now ending up in Glasgow.

"There are 1.3 billion people in China and there is a lot of unemployment,
so it's no surprise that so many would try and come to the UK."

A Glasgow police officer said: "Things are fairly quiet just now but the
potential for trouble is always bubbling away.

"For example, a couple of weeks ago, the main henchman for the Wo Shing Wo
was stabbed after going to collect a pounds 25,000 debt from a sauna.

"This guy, whose nickname is Hak Jai, meaning 'black boy', is a nasty piece
of work and was untouchable for years.

"The police only know the person who stabbed him is known as Big Tiger.

"Hak Jai has lost face over this and everyone is waiting to see what's
going to happen next."Young men make up around 90 per cent of the human
misery from China's Fujian province, while the rest are girls in their
teens or early 20s.

For pounds 20,000 paid to the local Snakehead, they get a passport or a
promise they will be smuggled into Europe or North America. All face a long
and perilous journey.

PC Peter Clark, of the Metropolitan Police Chinatown Liaison Unit, said:
"Most will claim political asylum, perhaps saying they face persecution at
home because of their religious beliefs.

"There are reports of them being washed up on the shore at Dover and many
have been found walking along the motorway towards London."

Last year, 58 people from Fujian province were found suffocated to death in
the back of a lorry at Dover.

Mr Clark added: "There are 1.3 billion people in China and there is a lot
of unemployment, so it's no surprise that so many would try and come to the
UK.

"But the wonderful new life of opportunity that their parents had dreamed
about often turns into a nightmare of crime and prostitution."
Melanie Orhant

Stop-Traffic Moderator
http://www.stop-traffic.org

Please contact me off-list for any questions about Stop-Traffic at
<<morhant@igc.org>>.

Women's Reproductive Health Initiative
Program for Appropriate Technology in Health
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