Women trafficked as sex slaves will be given assistance worth more than AUS$350,000 as part of a State Government program. The program will support about 30 women a year for the next three years.
"It will provide safe and secure accommodation for victims of sex trafficking, and help them access legal and migration advice," Attorney-General Rob Hulls told The Age. The announcement follows the first jury conviction of a person under new criminal code provisions in June 2006.
Wei Tang, a former Fitzroy brothel owner, was sentenced to a minimum six years' jail for keeping five Thai women as sex slaves. Each had to work off debts of up to $45,000. United Nations research indicates that most women trafficked into Australia are from South-East Asia and China.
Like Tang's victims, most victims of sex slavery are tricked into travelling to Australia with promises of jobs — which may be in the sex industry — but then have their freedom restricted. Tang's victims had their passports taken from them and were forced to perform sex acts to cover the costs of air fares, visas, passports and living costs.
While exact numbers of trafficked women in Victoria are not known, Mr Hulls hoped the program would help establish the extent of the problem.
Adapted from: "$350,000 for sex slaves." The Age (Australia). 26 October 2006.
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