Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Aussie pimp of Thai women 1st to be convicted of trafficking in women in Australia

From News.Com.Au

Tristan Swanwick

A GOLD Coast hairdresser who forced two Thai women into sexual slavery to pay off debts to violent loan sharks has been jailed for five years.Keith William Dobie, 48, was the first person in Australia charged with people trafficking under new laws brought in two years ago to clamp down on international sex slavery.

The former hairdresser yesterday pleaded guilty in the Brisbane District Court to two counts of people trafficking, one count of handling proceeds of crime, and four counts of presenting false documents.

Dobie lured the women to Australia to work as prostitutes with promises of easy money and generous working conditions, but turned into an abusive and demanding pimp after they arrived, the court was told.

Prosecutor Peter Flanagan, SC, said Dobie secured visas for the women by presenting false immigration documents to Australian officials in Thailand.He said Dobie was desperate to pay back money he had borrowed from Gold Coast loan sharks to finance his hairdressing salon and gambling addiction.

The women were both mothers and saw the trip as an opportunity to set up their families financially, Mr Flanagan said.But on arriving on the Gold Coast, the women were forced to see as many as five clients a day, even when they were in physical pain from frequent sex and were menstruating.

Mr Flanagan said Dobie earned up to $1000-a-day from the women, giving them the use of a room and $20 dollars a day for food and expenses in return.He sent as little as $600 in total to each of the womens' families.

Mr Flanagan said Dobie was verbally and physically abusive, telling one of the women she "had to work whether she liked it or not", and told them they would be arrested by immigration officials if they tried to escape.

Judge Leanne Clare told Dobie his treatment of the women had been "particularly demeaning and callous".

"Your true intention was to make as much money from these women by working them as often as possible so you could pay off your own debts," she said."

In your numerous appearances before me I have seen no indication of remorse for your crimes or the suffering they have caused."She sentenced him to five years. He will be eligible for parole after serving 22 months.

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