A barrister acting for a man accused of bringing five Thai women to Melbourne as sex slaves has compared their plight to an AFL footballer being drafted to another club. […]
[Prosecutor] Mr Gurvich said the women had to see between 650 and 750 clients to work off “highly exploitative” contracts and repay debts of up to $90,000 for their passage to Australia.
He said while they were paying off their debts, the women were allowed to keep only $5 for every client they saw over a compulsory six-day working week. […]
John Dickinson, for Kam Tin Ho, continued the football analogy when he urged jurors to consider that translations of recorded telephone conversations between the men might not fully convey their original meaning.
“An example of that might be Terry Wallace screaming out, ‘Go and buy me a decent full-forward to put beside Matthew Richardson.’ He doesn’t literally mean that,” Mr Dickinson said. […] “A harsh, exploitative contract — and I’m not saying this was — would not qualify as leading to a condition of slavery,” he said.
James Montgomery, SC, for Ho Kam Ho, said his client drove the women around, including to work, the hairdresser or shops.
“The prosecution say, ‘Well, he must be controlling them,’ ” Mr Montgomery said. “Wouldn’t you like to be in a job where you had a chauffeur who took you everywhere? Ring him up, ‘I want to go to the hairdresser’, he’s there, you’re driven. You don’t have to get the tram.”
More background here: