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Updated January 10, Police are concerned about the health and wellbeing of vulnerable foreign workers being exploited in illegal brothels in Canberra, as they crackdown on the "disgusting" businesses. A senior detective said ACT Policing's sexual assault team was working with the Australian Border Force to "actively pursue" more underground operations, after charging four people linked to the raids of 10 illegal brothels since July. Detective Superintendent Scott Moller said the past six months had seen an uptick in arrests and raids. He said the illegal brothels were usually found in revolting states, given they were not subject to health and safety checks.
Police footage recorded during raids last year showed they were often housed in unhygienic, dirty and mouldy buildings. This was just one of many concerns he held for the workers — women aged between 23 and 65 who were mostly trafficked from South-East Asia. Detective Moller said the victims were commonly recruited through a debt-bondage scheme, where traffickers demanded work to repay a real or fake debt that many victims could never repay — causing a damaging cycle of psychological cruelty.
In many cases, women believed they were travelling to Australia to work as a maid or waitress before being forced into the sex industry Brothels in canberra having their passports taken by traffickers.
Detective Moller said this was incredibly difficult situation for the victims, who found themselves enslaved in a country with Brothels in canberra unfamiliar language and culture. You're trying to help these women and a lot of the time they've still got this debt they carry no matter what. While ACT Policing did not investigate their wages, he said it was clear they were being paid "substantially less" than legal sex workers. And their struggles rarely ended when the businesses were shut down and ringleaders were prosecuted. Police connect women up with support and rehabilitation services such as the Sex Workers Outreach Program, the Australian Red Cross' victim trafficking support and Supportlink, which Detective Moller said was to "make sure they don't fall through the cracks" when they ended up on the streets.
But access to certain programs depended on whether a victim would give evidence to police, including potentially being a witness in court — and many women either did not understand the legal process or were afraid to engage in it. Detective Moller was concerned the complicity of clients was feeding these illegal businesses, which often moved between buildings and suburbs. Fortunately, he said there were also helpful members of the public, who had proven "absolutely crucial" to recent arrests made under t investigations with local and federal authorities.
Three illegal brothels uncovered at the Argyle Apartments in Reid in September were the result of public tip-off. In November, a year-old woman was arrested and charged with operating a commercial brothel in a Kingston apartment block, again the result of information received from the public. Detective Moller said it was clear the ringleaders of the businesses shut down recently knew of each other.
Whether that actually translates to a particular organised link, I haven't been able to determine that yet," he said. He asked Canberrans to contact police if they noticed an unusually high of people — mainly men — coming and going from nearby apartment blocks at strange hours. He said another giveaway was a sudden rise in traffic, as many of the portable businesses Brothels in canberra "there one day and gone the next".
Jules Kim from the national sex worker's union, The Scarlet Alliance, doubted that human sex trafficking was as widespread in Canberra and Australia as police claimed. The chief executive noted a federal government inquiry that found no sex workers were tricked into the job out of the 14 sex-work-related trafficking convictions nationally since Ms Kim said that despite this, there was "a continued focus on framing issues" in the sex industry, particularly those involving South-East Asia migrants, as trafficking.
Ms Kim said the "illegal brothels" police referred to were often situations where more than one worker was working from Brothels in canberra premises in order to share costs — which is illegal in some states and territories, including the ACT.
She said full decriminalisation of sex work was proven as the best way to ensure a safe environment, especially for those being exploited. Authorities raid five brothels across two premises in Fyshwick in Canberra's south, leading to the detaining of five Thai nationals over immigration charges.
Police claim one premises was found in a state of disrepair. Police uncover three illegal brothels at the Argyle apartments in central Canberra. ACT Policing footage shows mouldy bathrooms and dirty kitchens. One man and three women were found to be working illegally. Police raid an illegal brothel in Mort Street in Braddon after receiving a tip-off from a sex worker during the Reid raids. A year-old woman is arrested and charged with operating a commercial brothel in a Kingston apartment block.
Police investigate the immigration status of two more women.
Topics: law-crime-and-justicesexual-offenceshuman-traffickingtraffic-offencescanberraactaustralia. First posted January 10, Contact Clare Sibthorpe. More stories from Australian Capital Territory. If you have inside knowledge of a topic in the news, contact the ABC.
ABC teams share the story behind the story and insights into the making of digital, TV and radio content. Read about our editorial guiding principles and the standards ABC journalists and content makers follow. Learn more. By Ahmed Yussuf. Her first fight was at age 13, facing an opponent over a decade her senior — an early indication that Caitlin Parker was to become no ordinary boxer.
Now, she's a chance of making boxing history. By Hayley Gleeson. As a cultural moment, it's undeniably huge, but the question now is: will political leaders take the rage and grief behind these marches seriously? By Penny Travers. Corry Collins didn't take up running until she was Now 84, she's setting world and national athletics records.
Corporate psychopaths cost the economy billions of dollars not only through fraud and other crimes but through the personal and organisational damage they leave behind as they climb the corporate ladder. Live blog Follow our live coverage for the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic. By Clare Sibthorpe. Photo: Many underground brothels are found to be housed in mouldy buildings. Supplied: ACT Policing. Related Story: Illegal sex work and 'hook-up apps' blamed for brothel trade downturn.
Related Story: A police crackdown on sex workers in SA is pushing the industry underground. Related Story: 'I felt I was going to die': Sex worker raped at knifepoint wants proposed new laws to go further. Key points: Police and border force officials raid 10 illegal brothels in Brothels in canberra since July Authorities say there is an uptick in the of businesses due to an "opportunity" in suburban Canberra There are concerns for the health and wellbeing of the workers, usually trafficked from South-East Asia.
Photo: A dirty bedroom of an illegal brothel police shut down in Reid in central Canberra. Do you know more about this story? sibthorpe.
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