"Sex Slave" Brothel Closed

'Sex slave' brothel closed

By Steve Butcher and Jamie Berry
The Age (Melbourne)
June 7, 2007

A LEGAL Melbourne brothel central to sex slavery charges laid this week following raids by police and immigration investigators has been shut after the State Government yesterday took urgent legal action to close it.

The director of Consumer Affairs Victoria, David Cousins, moved against the South Melbourne business the day after a woman was accused of keeping three workers there as slaves.

Stephen Devlin, for Consumer Affairs, told the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal the owner's licence should be suspended for the protection of the community.

Sum-ching Yeung, 39, was alleged to have recruited the three women in Hong Kong and Malaysia by enticing them with “generous wages”.

But federal agent Dianne Betts told the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday that the women, who arrived last month, felt emotionally disturbed, sick, alone, trapped and with a “feeling of slavery”.

She said when not at the brothel, Exclusively Yours, in Park Street, they lived in an unfurnished apartment with locks on every door.

Ms Betts said Yeung had threatened them.

Consumer Affairs was granted a suspension order by the tribunal in September against the licencee, Anthony Alfonso Di Conza, after its inspectors and immigration officials found five illegal workers at the brothel.

Mr Di Conza was later granted a stay against the order after he made five undertakings that included taking all reasonable steps not to employ anyone who breached the Migration Act.

Mr Devlin yesterday told senior member Robert Davis the stay order should now be lifted because of further evidence found by Consumer Affairs and the Department of Immigration.

Mr Davis granted Consumer Affairs' application by consent and adjourned the matter for a contested hearing.

Yeung, of no fixed address, who is charged with three counts of possessing a slave and three counts of exercising right of ownership over a slave, was remanded in custody.