Sex worker trafficking on rise

Sex worker trafficking is on the rise.
Sex worker trafficking is on the rise.

MINING towns are enabling the sex worker trafficking of young, vulnerable women from south-east Asia, police say.

Mt Isa police district Inspector Paul Biggin said frontline officers in resource communities were becoming increasingly aware and confronted with the exploitation of women who had little to no grasp of English, working under duress and being shipped around mining areas.

He said the women used the fly-in, fly-out angle and the common "first time in town" enticement for men when advertising in local newspapers.

Major and local media advertisements frequently list "first-timers" to towns, and the emphasis on Asian women appears to be a trend.

"They are working on a fly-in, fly-out basis, two weeks here, two weeks in the next town and so on," Insp Biggin said.

"They are being advertised as available in the local newspapers, and they are coerced or threatened into doing it.

"They are being told they cannot go to the police because in the countries they come from, the police might even be a part of the problem."

Insp Biggin was awarded the Donald Mackay Churchill Fellowship to investigate and combat trafficking of women for sexual servitude/prostitution in mining towns across Queensland and Australia.

He was one of 22 Queenslanders and 115 Australians selected for funding from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

He will soon travel overseas to Chile, the United States, Canada and the Philippines to learn what other police forces are doing to combat the problem.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established after the death of Sir Winston Churchill in accordance with his last wishes.

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