Sex slavery prevalent in Australia
TONY EASTLEY: There are hundreds of legal brothels operating in suburbs right across Australia but elements of the industry have been tied to human trafficking and sex slavery.
Tonight Four Corners exposes the criminal underworld that's meeting demands for Australia's big sex industry.
Bronwyn Herbert reports.
BRONWYN HERBERT: The trade in sex trafficking is growing internationally and Australia is cemented in this business.
BROTHEL WORKER: I give you some information about the shop.
BROTHEL WORKER: Tonight we only have Asian girls working - is okay for you?
REPORTER: Yeah I'll meet them, yeah.
BROTHEL WORKER: Okay, the price is half hour …
BRONWYN HERBERT: Hundreds of women say they've been forced to work in Australia as sex slaves.
A woman known as "Rose" moved to Australia to study English at a private language school.
But soon after arriving in Melbourne, she received a phone call from her agent in China - a woman she knew by the name of 'Taiwan Linda' telling her she now had a debt of more than $20,000 and would have to work to pay it off.
ROSE: I went blank in my mind. I was really shocked.
BRONWYN HERBERT: The testimony was provided after a police raid at a Melbourne brothel known as Madam Leona's.
ROSE: I decided to try and leave the flat right then. I moved toward the front door and Kevin physically stopped me from leaving by using his body and arms to stand in front of me.
KATHLEEN MALTZAHN: Down the road on the other side of Brunswick Street there is a brothel that hasn't had any trapping to my knowledge but the owner of that was convicted of child prostitution a number of years ago. Beyond that in Smith Street there is a place that has closed down now but at least one person I know, one woman I know was trafficked there.
BRONWYN HERBERT: Kathleen Maltzahn is an anti-trafficking campaigner and believes the cases the Federal Police have uncovered are only a fraction of the problem:
KATHLEEN MALTZAHN: No one's really looking, no one's really counting in Australia.
BRONWYN HERBERT: The trail of evidence from many women trafficked to Australia - led Four Corners to the Chinese island state of Taiwan.
Justine Wang represents Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation.
JUSTINE WANG: For that Mrs Chen's case I think she already traffic at least hundreds more than 100 women.
BRONWYN HERBERT: Justine Wang says the woman known as "Taiwan Linda" plays a big role supplying women to brothels in Australia.
JUSTINE WANG: She hired lawyer in China to help those women pass the language test and then apply for student visa and then using their student visa to traffic women into Australia and force them into prostitution.
BRONWYN HERBERT: Pei-Yu Huang is a prosecutor in Taiwan. He says at least 60 girls have been trafficked from Taiwan to Australia but he says Australian police haven't requested the evidence:
PEI-YU HUANG (translated): I don't know how Australia and Taiwan can collaborate on this case but I think it is good if we can share information especially about Yao Yao (phonetic) because she trafficked Chinese girls to Australia and although we have evidence in Taiwan it's out of my jurisdiction.
BRONWYN HERBERT: Chris McDevitt from the AFP warns clients of brothels be warned.
CHRIS MCDEVITT: If they knowingly go into these situations and knowingly use somebody who is subject to slavery, they can find themselves at the end of a criminal charge, and I would have no hesitation, and indeed would relish the opportunity of locking anybody up that was actually involved in that knowingly.
TONY EASTLEY: Chris McDevitt , the commander of the human trafficking unit with the Australian Federal Police, ending that report from Bronwyn Herbert.
The full story tonight on Four Corners, at 8.30 on ABC1.