The alleged madam of a Riverton residential brothel is expected to face Perth Magistrate’s Court today (17 January), charged with dealing in the proceeds of crime over the discovery of $65,920 cash in a locked safe and cabinet at the premises.
The cash was seized by Australian Federal Police investigators who executed a search warrant at the property on 29 August (2019) over allegations that women were being trafficked for sexual servitude.
Evidence of human trafficking of sex workers was not found but police questioned the 59-year-old madam over the source of the money.
The woman allegedly told police she leased the property and ran the brothel.
The AFP will allege the woman’s visa conditions do not allow her to work Australia and there is no record of her paying any income tax.
The woman, who is now 60, has been charged with:
- one count of dealing with money reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of crime, contrary to section 400.9(1A) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
The offence carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment and a $25,200 fine.
The AFP will apply to have the cash forfeited, from where the funds can be used by the Commonwealth Government to benefit the community through a range of initiatives.
AFP Detective Sergeant Ross Hinscliff said money is the main motivator for people running unregulated businesses such as residential brothels.
“The AFP is focused on removing the proceeds of illegal activities,” Det. Sgt Hinscliff said.
“When people do not pay the appropriate tax, it reduces the revenue the Government has to provide services to the community.”
While this investigation has not identified any evidence of sexual servitude, the AFP is committed to disrupting and prosecuting anyone involved in human trafficking offences.
“Sexual servitude is when a person is coerced into providing sexual services because they are being forced and threatened,” Det. Sgt Hinscliff said.
“They may have agreed to work in the sex industry but then they have their movements restricted or controlled, have identification taken off them, be told they owe large debts they must repay or be threatened with violence,” Det. Sgt Hinscliff said.
“We want victims to know that help and protection is available and the AFP works with non-government organisations and social workers to support anyone who comes forward.”