MELBOURNE, July 5 (Bernama) -- A crime syndicate brought vulnerable sex workers to Australia from Southeast Asia under false documents and is illegally managing their work at four Melbourne brothels, a court has been told.
Mae Ja Kim, 38, is accused of leading a syndicate that illegally managed 100 sex workers, taking more than 40 per cent of their earnings through a complex system of overseers, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reports.
Kim has been charged with dealing in the proceeds of crime and living on the earnings of sex workers.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) Detective James Cheshire said the syndicate had lured women from Southeast Asia to work in Melbourne, and brought them to Australia with false documents.
He told Kim's bail hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday that the sex workers were totally reliant on the syndicate.
"They are very much in a level of fear of what would happen to them if they were to come forward and speak to police," he said.
Under cross examination, he conceded that the majority of the women were permitted to work in Australia.