• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 8:29am
NewsHong Kong
CRIME

Hong Kong women 'being kept in slave-like conditions in Sydney brothels'

Australian media shines spotlight on possible collusion of some travel agencies in trafficking of women into harsh conditions in sex trade

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 April, 2014, 5:08am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 April, 2014, 9:29am

Hong Kong women are being kept in slave-like conditions in Australian brothels and some local travel agencies are facilitating the abuse, according to media reports and advocacy groups.

Late last month, an investigation by The Sydney Morning Herald found that a number of Hong Kong women are entrapped in Sydney brothels, where they have to work up to 20 hours a day and take illegal drugs with customers.

It was the latest in a series of articles that have cast a shadow on Hong Kong's anti-human-trafficking regime, including a damning report last month by the Justice Centre Hong Kong and Liberty Asia, which slammed the city's "narrow and fragmented" human-trafficking laws.

The women are brought to Australia on tourist visas obtained via Hong Kong travel agencies, some of which experts suspect are complicit.

"Travel agencies are the perfect front. They have the semblance of legality and are probably registered in one way, but they do a lot more," said one human-trafficking expert who declined to be named.

Upon arrival, women are brought to brothels where they are forced to work around the clock and take crystal meth - also known as Ice - with their clients, according to the Herald report.

The investigation follows separate reports in the Australian media on how Asian sex workers in Sydney are pressured to have unprotected oral sex amid intense industry competition. Rather than see a doctor, the sex workers choose to self-medicate with drugs imported from Hong Kong, Sydney tabloid The Sun-Herald reported.

More than half of Sydney's sex workers are from Asia, with many from Hong Kong and South Korea, a study by the University of New South Wales found.

The syndicates behind the trafficking apply for study visas for the women, knowing that the process - including appeals - can take up to two years and leaves enough time for the women to be swallowed up by the criminal underworld.

According to Chris Seage of Australian advocacy group Brothel Busters, many of the women go voluntarily but under false pretences.

"The women understood they would be working in the sex industry. They were told they would massage rich men, make lots of money and enjoy the Sydney lifestyle of beaches, cafes and great weather," Seage said. "But what did they get? Sixteen-hour days, drug addiction, living and sleeping on mattresses in the brothel and restricted freedom."

The women are also obliged to pay off the costs of their flight, plus the A$15,000 (HK$109,000) study-visa fee, Seage said.

Similar exploitation happens in Hong Kong, women's rights group Zi Teng says.

The Hong Kong police had not replied to questions as of press time.

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17

This article is now closed to comments

Paradox314
Dollars to donuts, the brothels are owned by former Hong Kong people.
virokick
They charge up to AUD$150 to AUD200 per hour. It's better than working in HK standing all day at retail shops serving mainland retail tourist and can't even afford a 400sqft flat in Hk. Our society has failed it's people, we call ourselves a developed country but many live in 3rd world condontions.
ssslmcs01
It is hard to believe that girls from Hong Kong could resort to life in an Australian brothel and taking drugs with clients.
plklfcls
correct it! not from HK must be from China
Not suprised many westerns (especially) do not know much about other countries probably they not even aware how rich and developed HK is.
I was asked by a native British lady in UK since you are from HK you must be speaking Japanese LOL
honszeker
I doubt these are hongkongers. most probably if the story is true, these are women from China mainland.
meoii
The blatant rejection of the article mentioning Hong Kongers just exemplifies the stubbornness and ignorance of Hong Kongers and/or parents.
A Matsui
Australia have one of the worst human rights record in the world when it comes to human traf**** and the deplorable genocide of aborigines (First Australians).
mamingfai
I doubt very much on the story
pangkf
It is just unbelievable.
sipsip1238
You pervert, otherwise how would you know the cost?
And of the 150-200 dollars...they probably get about 15-20 dollars of that, then they have to py for the drugs that are forced onto them...grow the hell up.

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