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Sex trafficking syndicate smashed.



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Media Release -

Sex trafficking syndicate smashed

7 March 2008

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has arrested a 46-year-old Sydney woman who allegedly headed a people-trafficking syndicate supplying South Korean women to Australian brothels.

The joint operation with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) uncovered an alleged organised sex trafficking trade worth more than $3 million a year.

Police will allege the syndicate recruited women in Korea by deceiving them about the conditions under which they would be employed and then organised their entry into Australia under false pretences.

The syndicate allegedly controlled the women by applying financial pressure, confiscating their travel documents and forcing them to work for up to 20 hours a day in a Sydney brothel owned by the syndicate.

The woman and four other people thought to be linked to the syndicate were arrested earlier today.

AFP National Manager Border and International Tim Morris said the arrests highlighted the way DIAC and the AFP worked together to stamp out the exploitation of those who arrive in Australia seeking work.

'This investigation has dismantled a highly organised syndicate and prevented more women from being lured into such terrible circumstances,' Assistant Commissioner Morris said.

'While the number of trafficking victims in Australia is low, this is a very serious crime and the AFP continues to work with other agencies, including the Korean National Police Agency, to fight trafficking and provide support to victims.'

DIAC First Assistant Secretary of Compliance and Case Management Division Lyn O'Connell said the trafficking and exploitation of people was an abhorrent crime that could only be overcome by agencies working together.

'This operation is a good example of cooperation,' Ms O'Connell said. 'Where DIAC suspects a person may be trafficked, it refers the matter to the AFP for further assessment.'

Part of DIAC’s preventative strategy against people trafficking is having specialist Senior Migration Officer Compliance (Trafficking) positions located in Bangkok, Beijing and Manila who vet caseloads

for fraud that may lead to trafficking.

Ms O'Connell said the aim was to prevent these activities at the source. 'Where offences have occurred in relation to the Migration Act, DIAC will be looking to pursue these matters,' she said.

Charges:

AFP agents executed search warrants at six inner-Sydney premises yesterday.

• A 46-year-old Greenacre woman was charged with trafficking in persons,

debt bondage, deceptively recruiting for sexual services, knowingly

conducting a business that involves the sexual servitude of others and

dealing with proceeds of crime worth $1 million or more under the

Criminal Code Act 1995. She has also been charged with offences against

the Migration Act.

• A 35-year-old Korean woman was charged with trafficking in persons and

knowingly conducting a business that involves the sexual servitude of

others under the Criminal Code Act 1995. She has also been charged

with Migration Act offences in relation to a fraudulent application for

permanent residence by arranging a non-genuine marriage to an

Australian citizen.

• A 42-year-old Hornsby woman was charged with knowingly conducting a

business that involves the sexual servitude of others and dealing with

proceeds of crime worth $1 million or more under the Criminal Code Act

1995.

• A 28-year-old Ultimo man and a 23-year-old Lidcombe man were

charged with knowingly conducting a business that involves the sexual

servitude of others and dealing with proceeds of crime worth $100,000

or more under the Criminal Code Act 1995.

Three people are expected to face Sydney Central Local Court today.

The maximum penalty for the people trafficking offences is 15 years imprisonment. The maximum penalty for the proceeds of crime offences is 25 years imprisonment and/or a $165,000 fine.

The employer also faces being charged with aggravated offences under the Migration Act. Penalties for these offences are five years'

imprisonment and fines up to $33,000 for individuals and $165,000 per illegal worker for companies.

Victims or people with information about human trafficking or other serious Commonwealth offences should contact the AFP by phoning 1800 813 784.

Media Enquiries: AFP National Media 02 6275 7100 DIAC National Communications 02 6264 2244