Asian Women Sexual Exploitation
Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [4.26 p.m.]: I bring to the attention of the House a very serious matter that deeply concerns me and I am sure every member of the House—the growing evidence of the exploitation of Asian women in brothels in Sydney. I am referring particularly to young women who are tricked into coming to Australia by people who promise them they will get employment in a restaurant or similar business. The young women come to Australia in good faith—they may only be in their teenage years. One girl from Thailand was only 14 years of age and thought she was coming to Australia to work in a Thai restaurant. Instead, she found that she had been contracted to provide sex to $100 clients. She was told she would need to have sex with 650 men before her debt was repaid. This report was published in detail in the Australian on 12 April.
It is also of concern that the Department of Immigration, and to some extent some of our New South Wales government departments, seem to be acting as if this type of exploitation is not occurring in Sydney or in other parts of Australia—yet there is conclusive evidence that it is happening. Another tragic aspect of this exploitation of Asian women is the lack of action by various departments. For example, the Australian Federal Police were advised of a case by a Sydney solicitor, Chris Joyce, who gave them details of the trafficking operation. He said in the report in the Australian on 12 April that nothing happened. He said that the Department of Immigration unit was only interested in deporting the girls, not catching the pimps. He went on to say:
The tax office didn't do anything. WorkCover didn't do anything. The New South Wales Department of Health didn't do anything.
Apparently I could add that NSW Police did not do anything either. Mr Joyce said he was so disgusted by the lack of action by the Australian Federal Police that he rang local authorities himself to try to encourage some action. He said:
One woman, "Wing", who knew crucial details about the traffickers and their contacts in Australia, gave enough information to enable the rescue of five women from brothels in Perth, Canberra and Sydney.
They arranged for State police to conduct raids and get the women out under the pretence of arresting them as illegal immigrants.
Apparently, again, nothing happened to the people running this shocking, sordid, modern white slavery industry that is exploiting young women, especially those from Asia. Exploitation of Australian-born young women also occurs. The other tragic case that we are all aware of concerned another young woman from Thailand, Phuongtong Simaplee. She was trafficked to Australia as a 12 year old and forced into prostitution. The New South Wales Deputy Coroner was called in to conduct an inquiry because of the death of that young girl in a detention centre. The Deputy Coroner said that the detention centre's records of her care were woefully inadequate, the directions from doctors were passed on in an ad hoc manner and too much reliance had been placed on detention centre officers who lacked medical training.
Again the emphasis was on how to deal with this young woman and how to send her back to where she came from, not on action against the people who directly and indirectly exploited her and who I believe caused her death. The Deputy Coroner acknowledged that her death occurred as a consequence of heroin withdrawal complicated by malnutrition and pneumonia. The blame rests entirely upon the evil people—I assume most of them are men—who have exploited and abused these young women and have led them to Australia by deceit and trickery. I call on NSW Police and the New South Wales police Minister to fully investigate these activities and take action against the exploiters in our city.