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Last Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Australian jailed for sex slavery
An Australian brothel owner has become the first person to be convicted under the country's new anti-slavery laws.

Wei Tang, 44, was jailed for 10 years for keeping five Thai women as sex slaves in her Melbourne brothel.

The women were told they had to work for free to pay off debts incurred when bringing them to Australia.

Prostitution is legal in most of Australia but new slavery laws were introduced in 1999 to prevent vulnerable women being exploited.

Tang, who pleaded innocent to the charges, was one of the first people to be charged under the new law, and the first to be successfully prosecuted.

Prosecutors said that the five Thai women had been smuggled into Australia and told that they could work legally in the sex trade.

But they were ordered to first pay off a debt of A$45,000 ($34,500) by working for free, six days per week. Fifty Australian dollars were knocked off their debt for every client, the court heard.

The women, who had their passports and tickets taken, were "effectively restrained by the insidious nature of their contract", Judge Michael McInerney said.

He ordered Tang to serve a minimum of six years.

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13 Oct 03 |  Asia-Pacific
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