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Press play then disable your screen reader. Use space bar to pause or play, and up and down arrows to control volume. Use left arrow to rewind and right arrow to fast forward. I never knew what panic attacks felt like until my incident.
I never knew what it felt like to be utterly helpless. The first time I ever felt like that was in an alleyway behind Soho when I was raped.
I thought that once I left the alleyway, all the pain would go away. But it didn't leave me for weeks I know a part of me died that day. The part that trusted others. The part that saw the good in everyone. The part that held my innocence My name is Saxon Mullins. In , when I was 18 years old, I was raped in an alleyway in King's Cross. The young man she accused of raping her, on her hands and knees in the gravel in a laneway, pleaded not guilty, insisting their sexual encounter had been consensual.
The incident led to a gruelling legal battle that went for almost five years, including two trials and two appeals. Eventually the accused man, Luke Lazarus, the son of a nightclub owner, walked free, acquitted of rape. The case has had devastating consequences for all involved, and some of the details of the story are hard to hear.
But it's inspired a deep questioning of what exactly is consent to sex, how does a woman indicate it, and how does a man ensure that he has it? And is the law adequate to address these questions? Saxon Mullins' identity has been protected until now. But she's given up her anonymity to tell her story to Four Corners in the hope it will lead to change. The reporter is Louise Milligan. So, it was a friend of mine's birthday. So, there was about, maybe ten of us who were going out.
And Brittany and I were running late so we were meeting them there. Saxon and her best friend Brittany took this selfie at the beginning of a night that will forever be etched on their minds.
Just super-carefree and just kind of getting started. I didn't have kind of any worries about anything. I was just like, 'this is the beginning, of, like, awesome. I kind of I guess was a bit sheltered, I guess, if that's the right word for it. I had gone out maybe a handful of times since I turned 18 and I had the same group of friends since I was 14 years old. We were still living home with our parents. We were quite young minded, to be honest, looking back at it. We were very sheltered growing up where we did.
Our coastal town was very small and everyone knew everybody, so I don't think we were very mature year-olds. I was with her on the night that it happened and I'm here to support her and any other girls that have been affected like Saxon has been affected. I had had boyfriends and partners, but for Saxon, she never really had any boyfriend-type of figure at that point in her life.
And definitely no sexual contact with anybody. You know, I mean, we were so young. That night, the girls decanted a bottle of bourbon into two coke bottles.
They started drinking on their way to the Cross. As poor teenagers, we decided to pre-drink, is what we call it, because we didn't want to spend too much money. We went to McDonalds and we sat down and drank our pre-mixes and just chatted and waited for our friends. That's Saxon in the spotted black and white top and Brittany in the blue. Between them, they drank about three quarters of a bottle of bourbon - sipping from their coke bottles. I had been 18 for just shy of two months.
I had been out a handful of times. I had a lot to drink. The girls' friends arrived and embraced an excited Saxon. After leaving McDonalds, Saxon and Brittany headed to a nightclub around the corner. We went to World Bar. That was the first place we went to. And that was when we had our first cocktail of the night. Yeah that's what it was called. You got a little teapot and you got like two little shot glasses with it. And I guess from there we just went to different nightclubs.
We were just taking it all in because we'd never seen kind of a like a nightclub scene like that before. I was merry, but I was drunk. My friend and I were talking in an English accent all night. A terrible English accent, but an English accent. We were being silly, and we were doing what drunk people do.
The girls decided to go dancing at a nightclub called Soho, which was one of the most popular venues in King's Cross. We were excited to get out there and dance. Oh yeah, we were having heaps of fun.
Like just little snippets that I still remember, it was really fun and we were laughing and talking to people and socialising. They shuttled back and forth between clubs.
By then, Saxon Mullins had downed ten standard drinks. It got to about four in the morning and it was just Brittany and I left at Soho. We were dancing, there was just nobody left on the dance floor, 4 in the morning, this guy started dancing with me so I just danced with him, you know?
He said he was like the part-owner of Soho or something, showed me a card and I was like 'yeah, all right'. And he just kinda asked if I'd met the DJ. And I said I hadn't and so he just kind of grabbed my hand and walked me towards the DJ area.
I was messaging her, trying to figure out where she was. At the time, I was dancing with a guy. And instantly after, I realised that I couldn't see her. I was panicking, because, I didn't expect the worst, but I just didn't know where she went. They can be seen on club CCTV going downstairs to a cloakroom area. In the pictures Saxon is gesturing back up the stairs in the direction they'd come from. I kind of just pointed up to be like 'oh, aren't we going to the VIP area? The hand on the wall was just me steadying myself, really.
But you know he said, 'yeah, yeah it's this way', so I said, 'OK, sure, I believe you. This is the last thing the CCTV shows: Luke Lazarus taking Saxon Mullins by the hand to the club's rear exit at two minutes past 4am.
It had been four minutes since they'd met on the dancefloor. I kind of hadn't really registered, you know, what was going on. I was just following his lead, kind of thing.
And then we started kissing. And it was at that moment that I kind of went 'Oh. This isn't the VIP area'. So, I kind of made, I said, 'you know, I have to go back to my friend', sort of thing. And he said, 'no, no stay with me, stay here' and I said, 'no, no, I'd really like to go back to my friend now'. And he was like 'no, it's fine' and I went to move away and he pulled me back and kind of pulled my stockings and my underwear down.
So, I pulled them back up and I said, 'no I really have to go now'. And I went to turn and he pulled me back and said something And so I did. I mean, I didn't know him. And you know, when the few things he said to me before we went outside were just nice, calm, normal things and then all of a sudden, after I tried to leave, it was 'put your fucking hands on the wall', it wasn't 'no, please, stay with me'. You know, there wasn't any request./p>
He ah, he had anal sex with me. It was pretty painful. And um, I just kind of froze, you know? And I was just trying to like, I know it doesn't make sense, but block it out. Like just wait till it was over.
Would you ever have wanted your first sexual experience to be on your knees in the gravel, anal sex? I mean, I didn't even get kissed until I was 17 years old. I had this grandiose, you know, romantic, it'll be by candlelight on a bed of roses. With someone who loves me. And, you know, no-one dreams of their first time being in an alleyway with someone whose name they can't even remember.
I got up and I went to walk away and he said, 'oh wait, put your name in my phone'. And I just, auto-pilot. I just did it. I didn't want him to follow me, I didn't want him to ask him any more questions. I just wanted to leave, so I just put my name in his phone.
And then I ran. Luke Lazarus would later say he wanted Saxon's name as part of a trophy list of women in his phone. I first tried to find the door and I couldn't, so I just ran. I don't even remember how I got to my friend.
I just started crying, hysterically crying. So, she was in hysterics, which was very shocking, so I knew something had happened.
And she was up the street near the crossing and I kind of like ran towards her, I guess, and she actually like collapsed in my arms, which she's never done. She's just so strong and emotion So, I was just instantly kind of knew that something awful had happened. And it was from that moment everything in her Like, that's when I saw it. Just seeing her fall apart. It was almost like she just crumbled.
And I will never forget that moment. Before first light at King's Cross, the girls waited for the station doors to open. They caught the first train home to Saxon's sister Arnica's house in suburban Sydney. It was a very kind of terrible situation. And it went forever. Like, it just felt like we were on that train for years.
When we got back to Arnica's house, I asked if she was bleeding and she was. She couldn't sit down, properly. Like, we had to, she was laying down, rather than sitting, because the physical pain was just too much.
And yeah, to be honest, looking back on it, I didn't really know what to do. I didn't know how to react or how to even help, because it just was so shocking that it had even happened, because we'd never heard of that happening to anybody that we knew. My name is Arnica Mullins and I'm Saxon's older sister. I'm ten years older than her. The morning after she went out in King's Cross I received some very disturbing and upsetting text messages about something that happened to her.
Okay I have the story to tell you, it's actually really heavy. Okay so we went to the world bar and soho And then I ran away and called Brittany and waited for her and cried.
Immediately my heart was in my throat and I could tell from the tone of Saxon's messages, obviously, knowing her, that something terrible had happened and she was kind of I didn't know what to do when I read that other than, I need to get home to her, I need to talk to her and make sure she's OK, but I need to take her to the police. And I thought, 'yeah, I really do'. So that's, that's why I went.
And I guess I kind of knew the protocol in a way, I hadn't showered, and I had all my clothes from that night ready. Saxon gave a police statement later that day. Then she was sent for a medical examination. I'm Dr Ellie Freedman. She has given full consent for me to discuss what happened to her.
I met Saxon on the afternoon after the event that happened and she presented to our service around midday and I think I was there shortly after. Bear in mind, she'd been up all night, so she seemed pretty tired, pretty subdued.
But my memory of her, and remember it was five years ago, was that she was quiet, composed, a little withdrawn but able to tell us, give us a coherent story about what had happened to her. Saxon had a number of minor injuries, but most noticeably, she had grazing on both knees where she'd been kneeling on the gravel, and when I did a genital examination, she had a number of painful grazes around the entrance to the anus.
She was in pain, and it was extremely difficult for me to examine her because it was very painful. I honestly have zero recollection of calling you, was a sick night.
Took a chick's virginity, lol. I took a week off work. I sat in the bath. I didn't want to see anyone. I was so humiliated. I didn't want to do anything. I just wanted to sleep. The son of a wealthy Sydney businessman is facing fourteen years jail for a sexual assault outside a King's Cross nightclub part-owned by his father. The trial of Luke Lazarus began in To secure a conviction, the prosecution had to prove three things: He pleaded not guilty.
What happened on the night between Saxon and I, I honest to God believed, was consensual. Luke Lazarus had been to two 21sts that night. He told the court he was 'moderately intoxicated but well within his limits' when he saw Saxon Mullins on the dancefloor. I thought she was attractive and so I approached her and we were dancing. I thought she was He said that Saxon was 'almost skipping' down the lane. In Luke Lazarus' version, he did not swear at Saxon Mullins when, as they were kissing, he asked her to put her hands on the wall.
I did not raise my voice or I wasn't demanding anything. I just said it as I had been talking to her. She turned around and put her hands on the fence and kind of bent right over and pointed her buttocks towards me. Luke Lazarus testified that Saxon Mullins never said 'stop' or 'no'.
He said the movement of Saxon's body back and forth towards him also indicated her consent. He was asked why he described taking Saxon's virginity as 'a pretty gross story'.
Anal sex in the lane I think it's not normal. I think it can be adequately described as gross. It was a gross story. Well the rich and spoiled son of a Sydney nightclub owner cried in court today, but he didn't win much sympathy. He was there because he had raped a teenage girl. Luke Andrew Lazarus now knows he can't hide from his crime on that night almost two years ago. A jury of 12 found Luke Lazarus guilty of having sex with Saxon Mullins without her consent.
At his sentencing hearing, he said his life had been ruined. I essentially had the world at my feet I could have been a CEO Any ambition I had is destroyed I haven't been able to function at all without heavy sedation I still feel as though my life, at least in Australia, has been completely destroyed.
And now I have to live the rest of my life knowing that every single person in Australia, or at least in Sydney, knows that I have been convicted of a sex offence. In my view, he really made it about him and about how he'd been victimised.
I'd like him to live a day in the life of Saxon to really feel like what victimisation's like. The fact that I have done this unknowingly to Saxon, I'm absolutely sickened to my stomach. I'm so sorry to her. I would never, ever, intentionally hurt someone. And to Saxon, from the bottom of my heart, I'm so sorry. The son of a Sydney nightclub owner will spend at least three years in jail for raping an year-old woman.
He had an inflated sense of power, superiority and entitlement. Luke Lazarus thought he was invincible. There's a bit of relief. Not only for, 'it's over', but 'they believed me'. And then there's the inevitable bit of guilt. I can't help but feel I destroyed someone's life. The impact on Saxon Mullins' life was far from over.
Luke Lazarus appealed against his conviction. The appeals court found the judge had erred in her directions to the jury on the question of whether Luke Lazarus thought that Saxon Mullins was consenting. He was released after spending 11 months in jail, pending a retrial.
I'm very much looking forward to a retrial I'm excited to clear my name in the future. That's all I have to say at the moment. The court decided that because of the saturation media coverage, Luke Lazarus could not get a fair trial before a jury.
The case would be heard before a judge alone. The retrial was heard by Judge Robyn Tupman. I think we always expected that Lazarus would appeal, just given the amount of resources that he has. I actually didn't think it would be successful. I believed that my sister had been raped and that to go through a retrial would just be another traumatic experience for her To think to have to go through it again, or that Saxon would have to relive that experience again, was heartbreaking.
Judge Tupman took a different view of the evidence. She didn't accept Saxon Mullins was so drunk that she couldn't have consented. And she accepted Luke Lazarus' account that Saxon had not told him to stop, because, in her first police statement Saxon had said: Immediately following a sexual assault, most people are so confused, they're trying to make sense of what happened to them.
And the thought of going and describing a really intimate sexual experience to a complete stranger at a police station is really difficult for most people to do. She pushed back towards him and then back and forwards as the anal intercourse took place She did not say 'stop' or 'no'.
She did not take any physical action to move away from the intercourse or attempted intercourse. It's well know by psychologists and psychiatrists that there's actually three responses to fear. There's fight, flight and freeze. A freeze response usually occurs when the person can see that fight and flight aren't options for them.
Judge Tupman thought it was immaterial whether Luke Lazarus swore at Saxon Mullins when he told her to put her hands on the wall. She accepted the evidence of defence witnesses who said Luke Lazarus had a good character. The judge also relied on the evidence of a female friend of Luke Lazarus, who told the court she had had anal sex on first dates.
This piece of evidence was given in cross-examination by the Crown, did not go to character, but provides in my view some objective insight into contemporary morality.
She used Saxon's lack of resistance and this term 'contemporary morality' to come to the conclusion that Lazarus had formed a belief based on reasonable grounds. Judge Tupman accepted Saxon Mullins did not consent to sex that night. But the critical point was whether Luke Lazarus knew she wasn't consenting.
I stress that I do not accept that the complainant, by her actions, herself meant to consent to sexual intercourse and in her own mind was not consenting to sexual intercourse Whether or not she consented is but one matter. Whether or not the accused knew that she was not consenting is another.
It's true that, in our culture now, it's desirable that people take steps to ensure that there's consent. We all desire that in a socially advanced society.
But to make somebody guilty of a serious criminal offence, where they're liable to go to jail for many years, we do require that they have that necessary guilty mind and the test for proving that is, in this case, proving beyond reasonable doubt that there was no reasonable basis for the belief that she was consenting.
And the judge was not satisfied that that was proved by the prosecution in this case. Basically she didn't believe my account. She didn't believe my timeline. She didn't believe me. Do you want to ask him if he plans to take any action over his eleven months behind bars? Yeah, we should ask him that. Do you intend to take any action about the 11 months you spent in jail?
Luke, are you prepared to take any action over the 11 months you spent behind bars? How do you feel about the decision? How does it feel to be free Luke? Do you accept that the young lady in question believes that she did not give consent?
After the verdict, there was a celebration at the Lazarus family home. A photographer captured these pictures of Luke and his guests the morning after. That's just poor form. I don't really have anything good to say about that. I don't understand why they would do that. If you think he's innocent, then that's fantastic, but again, you know why he was in a trial. You know I'm a real person. You know the ramifications of what happened, but you don't care, clearly.
I think it's just disgusting. After the first trial when he was found guilty, we didn't throw a party. Something that Saxon always says to me is that you have to have compassion for people, no matter what. And Saxon is deeply compassionate, even for her abuser.
And the fact that they had a party celebrating this triumph was very upsetting because it showed that they had little regard for Saxon's welfare, or any care at all for what she went through. And it was found, for a second time, that the trial judge had made an error. Under the law, Luke Lazarus had to have a reasonable belief that Saxon was consenting, but the court also had to look at what steps he took to arrive at that belief.
The appeals court found Judge Tupman had failed to address this issue in her written judgment. There has to be some way to ensure that this reasonable belief as to consent concept is a bit more foolproof - that's what I think needs amending.
Think of the jury. The 12 laypeople who are empanelled every day of the week and who sit on sexual assault trials. They have to come to terms with this language, and I think we need to give them greater guidance about how to apply this particular test. The criminal law is a blunt and brutal method of social education.
Yes, we want to educate our community to engage and to behave in a civilised way, but you shouldn't rely on the criminal law as the key mechanism for doing that. Even though the appeals court found Judge Tupman had made a legal error, it did not order a third trial, because it would be unfair to Luke Lazarus, who had already spent 11 months in jail. Abraham Papo's death occurred against a sordid backdrop - the world of human trafficking, debt bondage and sexual servitude.
Hidden camera footage of brother. Asian women emerge in sequence from behind a curtain in bras and underwear. It's a world where women are bought and sold, traded like commodities, and in some cases literally enslaved.
And it's a trade that's growing - worldwide and in Australia. For the grieving family of Abraham Papo, discovering this world has only added to the anguish of losing their son. For this industry to be out there and for us to be, you know, to be concerned that this is happening in Australia. I had no idea, no idea that there's sexual slavery in Australia. Any doubt that sexual slavery could exist in Australia was swept aside in , when five Thai women were rescued from this brothel in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy in Melbourne.
What happened to us was a nightmare. We worked from 11am to 3 or 4am and slept only three or four hours a night. They treated as like animals. We were sexually abused. We were dragged, we were hit. Some of us were given drugs so we could work all the time. The traffickers threatened us. Wse were scared they could hurt us and our families. The case led to Australia's first conviction for sexual enslavement when a Chinese immigrant, Wei Tang, was found guilty of possessing slaves and sentenced to 10 years in prison, upheld in the High Court.
The Wei Tang case was a land mark decision. It decided that Australia's obligations under the International Convention and under domestic law were very broad and that slavery was not to be confined to any particular circumstance. It was argued on behalf of Wei Tang that what was happening was not slavery because these women had come voluntarily.
And the High Court said 'No, the circumstances of your debt bondage were such that effectively you were enslaved'. When someone treats you like a dog for a long time, you start to believe you are a dog. That kind of experience made me feel like I'm not human, makes me feel so dirty, even too dirty to touch my own baby.
We've had investigations and assessments since , victims rescued. Seventy per cent of those are women involved in sexual servitude. It's hard to work the figures out anywhere but particularly in Australia because no-one's really looking, no-one's really counting in Australia. Project Respect looked almost ten years ago now and were saying then around a thousand women.
Sally, this is Abraham's room. It's still the same since he hasn't come home that fateful night. We still burn a candle. Maybe we'll blow it out when there's justice for Abraham. Abraham Papo was 27 and still lived at home with his parents when he died. The son of a middle-class Jewish family, he was a student at Mt Scopus College in St Kilda but left school early and drifted into work as a salesman, a pest controller and later, a nightclub doorman. In late Abraham brought home a new girlfriend, a Korean student.
They were together on and off for a year and she stayed for a while with his family. You know, she'd come home. He had- you know, there's this new girl in his life and she's very quiet, very polite and respectful to our family. She even called me Mum, you know, not long after knowing me and I thought 'That's strange' but apparently that's the custom. Unbeknown to Abraham's parents, his new girlfriend was working in a brothel in York Street, South Melbourne, then called Madam Leona's.
The couple had broken up when Abraham got a phone call from her in February , saying she'd been moved to Sydney and was being harmed. Her passport, it's very clear in the phone calls, was taken and she was in harm's way.
She was with some dangerous men, in a car. Abraham's brother provided a more detailed account to the police. He was unwilling to be interviewed but this is what he told police about the events of that day. He was really upset. He told me that he had called her on her mobile and that she was screaming in pain. He said that she was being raped and beaten and that he had to help her. He said that a male then got on the phone and threatened him.
The guy had said that he would chop him up if he came near her. He told me he then rang an Asian guy that runs a brothel in South Melbourne and had an argument with him on the phone. Abraham went to a local police station but was told they needed more information to do anything. He kissed me and said he loved me, and he stood at the door and he said it's his responsibility for her. And I didn't know what to make of it and before I knew it he was gone.
And I never saw him again. Two police knocked at the door and they said our son was dead. And I thought he'd been in a car accident and they said 'No' but they didn't say how. They just said 'He's done, he's dead', and that's all I can remember. Abraham Papo's killer is this man - Chinese-born Australian citizen, Zheng De Jun, known as Kevin Zheng, a convicted criminal and veteran of the sex trade who worked at Madam Leona's at the time. Forensic reports reveal the savagery of the bashing inflicted by Zheng.
Papo suffered fractures to the skull, nose, jaw, ribcage and arm. He had blunt force trauma to the head, to the neck, to the torso - back and front, left and side, high and middle range. So a whole lot of injuries - a whole lot of blunt force injuries consistent with being hit very hard with something. Zheng wasn't charged because he claimed he acted in self defence but Papo's family wants a new investigation.
The family's barrister Julian McMahon wrote in a submission to the coroner that the medical reports were consistent with Papo having been maliciously beaten to death, and that witness statements from brothel staff and customers supporting Zheng's story read like 'a tissue of lies'. The Papo family believes that Abraham was killed to cover up the fact that sexual servitude was occurring in that brothel. Is that something that should be looked at, in your view?
I just can't comment on that. It's not for me to reach those far-reaching conclusions without a lot more investigation. But I can say we felt a lot more investigation should be done based on what we've seen so far. In he was charged in South Australia with inflicting sexual servitude and aggravated robbery with a weapon. In he was working in Melbourne at a brothel where two Korean women were removed due to sexual servitude allegations. In Zheng was named in an AFP document on transnational sexual servitude, which linked him to yet another brothel that was investigated after seven women were brought in from China, some on false passports as sex workers.
I had Council people and police and other people in the sex industry say they were trafficked women and one person told me that women would be brought in in a mini van, and worked and taken away at the end of the day. Anti-trafficking campaigner Kathleen Maltzahn says the brothels named here have been identified repeatedly as a problem. There are some brothels that have had trafficked women for years and years and years.
There are brothels that I know that have been had convictions against people who operated from those brothels. I've gone in there and I know I've met trafficked women. I've known police investigating them. And year after year there have been concerns, complaints raised and they're still operating.
The brothel where Abraham Papo was killed, Madam Leona's, has been targeted repeatedly in investigations into suspected sexual servitude. These brothers along with two others are accused of running a sophisticated business trading in women and using them as sex slaves. Then in a series of raids last November, a former supervisor at Madam Leona's - a Chinese national named Mao Ru Zhang - was arrested and charged with placing two women in debt bondage and sexual servitude.
In the last few months, disturbing details of how the sex trafficking business works have emerged in evidence heard at a committal hearing at the Magistrates Court in Melbourne. Two young Chinese women have testified at length about how they were tricked into coming to Australia, supposedly to study English and then forced into prostitution. They also testified about the role of Kevin Zheng as the enforcer in their servitude at Madam Leona's brothel in South Melbourne.
While the person awaiting trial must still be presumed innocent, the two witnesses' testimony provides a compelling account of how the sex trafficking trade operates in Australia today. The witnesses' identities have been suppressed by the court to protect them.
For the purpose of our story, we will call them Rose and Lily. Their sworn testimony is read here by actors. I have no words to express my feelings. I feel very uncomfortable talking about how I feel in relation to being a sex worker. I feel like there is a stone in my heart, and until there is some kind of justice with these people who have done these things to me then this stone cannot be removed.
Rose arrived in Melbourne from China in August, She was 28 years old, had a business diploma and ran a clothing shop, and had dreamed of living abroad and learning English. After being met at the airport she was driven to the city and taken to this building in Little Collins Street, where there were two rented apartments on the first floor. The male in the apartment, who later identified himself as Kevin, was very tall and strong with a shaved head.
He looked like a very rough, angry and unfriendly type of person. There were four or five other Chinese girls in the two bedroom flat, and Korean girls in the one down the hall.
They wore heavy makeup and came and went at all hours. When I asked Kevin what they were doing and where they were going, he told me I would find out in a couple of days. I could see that Kevin was responsible for making sure I couldn't be away from the apartment alone. It was at this stage that she first told me I would be required to work as a sex worker. I went blank in my mind. I was really shocked and I didn't know what to do. I decided to try and leave the flat right then.
I moved toward the front door and Kevin physically stopped me from leaving by using his body and arms to stand in front of me. I was very fearful of this man Kevin hurting me. I felt like I was dying. I felt that I had fallen into hell. I closed my eyes very tightly and with my hands I created very tight fists.
I just lay very still, staring at the ceiling with a blank brain. I felt so devastated that I really had no wish to live on. One of 'Rose's workmates, 'Lily', who had also come to Australia expecting to study English, recalled another girl telling her Kevin was a killer. I remember she told me Kevin had killed someone at Shop 59 but then didn't tell me any more detail.
This made me very fearful of him. Often I would lie in bed at night and worry that Kevin or someone else was going to come in and murder me. I believed there were realistically little prospect of escape, and no choice but to do what they asked if I were to stay alive.
The manager at Madam Leona's was this woman, Lin Gao. She goes by the name Lisa. I give you some information about the shop. Tonight we only have Asian girls working - is ok for you?. Lisa now runs another exclusively Asian brothel, the Candy Club in Melbourne's Richmond, where this footage was taken. While many migrant sex workers are here willingly, Rose and Lily testified that at Madam Leona's Lisa rostered them to work up to fifteen hours a day, seven days a week, servicing as many as ten men per shift, and performing degrading sex acts and unprotected oral sex.
I felt physically exhausted. Emotionally, I felt tortured and sad. It felt like I was in a place of evil. I always had a very innocent view of the world and now I knew that life is full of evil. We're hearing a lot of stories about women being moved quite frequently, definitely between states. From what we understand that's more around making it harder to find these women - particularly for the Federal Police.
Because if they're only in one brothel for a couple of weeks, if word gets to the police or to anyone else and someone goes in there to find them, by the time the word gets around they've probably been moved to another brothel. The trail of evidence in the case of Rose and Lily - and scores of other women trafficked to Australia - led Four Corners to the Chinese island state of Taiwan. Prostitution here is banned.
But when night falls, it's estimated as many as illegal brothels and escort services spring to life. The international trafficking syndicate that sent the women at the centre of our story to Australia is headquartered here in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei.
The girls who were sold into servitude in brothels in Sydney and Melbourne were not alone. They were among hundreds of women trafficked by this syndicate to destinations around the world - in North America, Europe, Japan, Southeast Asia and Australia. A central figure of this syndicate is a woman named Zhang Qi Zhen, but better known in the sex trade by her nickname 'Taiwan Linda'.
The syndicate was smashed last year when Taipei authorities arrested its ringleader, a woman called Mrs Chen. Well, for that Mrs Chen's case, I think she already trafficked at least hundreds - more than women around the world. Because- Well to Australia, US and Canada and also Japan - and she has been doing this business for more than 15 years. She was so-called, one of the supplier of the women to the broker in- or the brothel owner in Australia.
So she hired a lawyer in China to help those women pass the language test and then apply for student visa. And then using their student visa to traffic women into Australia and force them into prostitution. One of those sent to Australia was this woman, who uses the name Joyce. We tracked her down in Taipei and she agreed to be interviewed as long as her identity was obscured. A friend of mine introduced me to Mrs Chen and she said she will help me to find a job in Australia. I booked the flight ticket myself and I took the flight myself.
Mrs Chen told me someone would be there to pick me up. Joyce knew she was coming to Sydney to be a sex worker, but was shocked by the conditions that awaited her after she was met by a man named Peter and driven to a brothel on the city's north shore.
After I arrived to the company I thought I could take a break first, and have something to eat and start work the next day, but they just asked me to put on makeup and start working that very day. They didn't arrange accommodation for me to stay so I just had to sleep at the place, and that night I didn't even have a quilt.
It was very cold and I have to take a towel to sleep till the morning. Tell me about who the people were who were running the place. What were their names? The brothel Joyce was sent to in Sydney was the same one where Rose and Lily had been put to work. They also run another brothel called Five Star at Woolloomooloo, and used to swap girls between them.
There were about ten girls working there, all Asian. I was the only Taiwanese. We couldn't go out. If I was hungry I couldn't go out for some food. If we need anything we have to ask Kevin. The only time we can have a rest is when we had our period. The rest of the time we always have to work. The doors were locked all the time. Only when the guests come and ring the door bell, then they open the door. Inside the Ministry of Justice in Taipei, investigators spent months piecing together the evidence provided by Joyce and three other Taiwanese women who'd been sent by the syndicate to Australia, along with a mass of material obtained after the phones of Taiwan Linda and her associates were tapped for a year.
According to the information we have in Taiwan, they have trafficked around 60 to 70 girls to Australia. The phone records include conversations between Taiwan Linda and the then proprietor of Madam Leona's, Lisa.
In one call they discuss buying fake IDs. In another they debate which class of student visa is best to get girls into Australia, and how they should split the profits from the women working for them. Everyone has their own duties. For example, Mrs Chen is responsible for trafficking girls to Australia. And the other side is responsible for arranging clients for girls and splitting the money. The evidence compiled in Taiwan contains repeated references to both Lisa and Kevin, who was in charge of transfers and accommodation, according to a Taipei court document.
The tapped phone calls include one in which a girl complains that Kevin was taking a cut for every job she did at Madam Leona's. The phone records show the links between the brothels in Melbourne and Sydney, and how girls were moved between them.
So they're swapping girls between the brothel at 59, which is in Melbourne, and 5 Star in Sydney? Rose testified that Peter and Angie hosted a dinner for Taiwan Linda when she visited Australia in , travelling first to Melbourne to meet up with the staff at Madam Leona's, and then to Sydney. The traffickers' ringleader Mrs Chen was convicted in Taiwan of prostitution offences and sentenced to a year and eight months in jail.
She was acquitted of human trafficking, partly because the alleged offences occurred outside the Taipei court's jurisdiction. Actually I was very, very disappointed because for trafficking so many women out of the country and Miss Chen only get one years. I think there's a serious problem of our judicial systems. Taiwan Linda was convicted of illegally smuggling Chinese women to Taiwan, and sentenced to three years and eight months. She's currently out on bail pending an appeal.
We understand she hasn't been interviewed by Australian police. We found her at her apartment in Taipei. My name is Sally Neighbour. I'm a journalist, I'm from Sydney. We're making a program about the trafficking of women for sexual servitude and it's been alleged in cases in both Taiwan and Australia that you've been involved in this. Before we go, can you tell me how many women you and Mrs Chen sent to Australia?
Can you tell us how much money you made from the inaudible of the prostitutes that you sent I don't know how our two countries can collaborate on this case but I think it is good if we can share information. I can't use it in this case but maybe it is useful to Australia, if she is investigated. What I can say is that we're in the middle of some things and I really can't not at liberty to discuss those things because it's bigger than the AFP.
There's a raft of different agencies that are involved in managing this crime type across the board. She is now a government-approved licensee, even though brothel license-holders and their associates are supposed to be 'of good repute'.
Can you tell me about Kevin Zheng, where he is, whether he's still working with you? Lisa was also unwilling to answer our questions, although she did confirm her association with Kevin Zheng. He's the driver okay? He drives the girls, okay? But that is not belong to the shop. And she was quick to defend Zheng when I asked her about the murder of Abraham Papo outside her old brothel, which is now under new ownership. That is not murder.
That is not murder! That is self defence, okay? If you think it is murder, you call the police. Indicating on a photo of the night sky Somewhere in here in the Southern Cross there's a star called Abraham Papo. Two and a half years after Abraham Papo's death, his grieving family is still hoping for justice. Kevin Zheng remains at large. He left Australia last month for China, but has since returned.
Zheng is also a suspect in another case, a suspicious fire that destroyed a Melbourne brothel last year. We do have concerns that there may have been people in there. The fire was so intense and involved that we were unable to send any fire fighters inside initially.
Up to 30 fire fighters battled the blaze, which ran the 20 metre length of the building. The fire occurred in August last year in one of the brothels in Tope Street, South Melbourne where Zheng used to work.
The building was gutted. There's a lot of combustible material in there, in the massage parlour. There would have been foam bedding, etc, and quite a few other rubber items in there.
The arson squad is investigating after it was discovered the front door had been kicked in. The damage bill is expected to top half a million dollars. It shows a man entering when the brothel was closed in the early hours of the morning and disappearing into a back room. After a minute he can be seen re-emerging and moving around.
The talk in the industry is that the fire was part of a violent turf war between Chinese operators and a rival Korean syndicate which has muscled in on the sex trafficking trade. We hear of reports of an agent in Korea who identifies women - young women who may have debts, credit card debts, gambling debts.
This agent in Korea is reported to be able to introduce these women to someone in Australia who will meet the cost of the debt, will wipe out their debt.
It's hard to put a number on it but I would hint that certainly across Australia it would be hundreds of women.
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