A teenage girl says she was kept as a sexual slave in a Sydney house before she was able to escape and alert authorities, sparking an investigation into human trafficking and sexual servitude.
The 17-year-old, from Guinea in western Africa, sought help at the Asylum Seekers Centre on Bedford Street in Newtown late last month, saying she had just escaped from a unit somewhere in Sydney’s metropolitan area where she had been held captive, police said.
The teenager was dropped at the centre by a good Samaritan, believed to be named Nicole, who saw the girl running down a street and picked her up in her car.
Detective Acting Superintendent Mick Haddow, the State Crime Command’s Sex Crimes Squad Commander, appealed for that woman, who was driving a small red car, believed to be a hatchback, to come forward to help with the investigation.
“This really is a case at the moment where there are a lot of questions and not enough answers for us,” he said.
“We are really seeking help from this person, known as Nicole, who in the early hours of the morning collected this young girl and took her to the Asylum Seekers Centre.
“She is a really important witness, Nicole, and also potentially a really important source of information for us in terms of identifying the crime scene.”
He said the investigation had been extremely difficult.
“There are cultural issues, language issues. The statement has taken days and days and days to complete,” he said.
The teenager has told police she was in her home country of Guinea in January this year when she met an African man who offered to bring her to Australia to work as his cleaner.
She agreed and, in early April, the man and the teenager flew from Guinea to Paris, and then on to Sydney.
The teenager says she was then taken to the unit somewhere in Sydney, where she was held captive in a room and regularly sexually assaulted by a number of men, including the man who had flown with her to Australia. She feared for her life, she told police.
“We don’t know what suburb we’re talking about at this stage. We believe it’s possibly close to the Newtown area but it could be kilometres and kilometres away,” Detective Acting Superintendent Haddow said.
In the early hours of April 27, the teenager managed to escape from the unit and ran for a short period until she was picked up by the woman and taken to the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown.
Police said the centre consulted the Anti-Slavery Unit at the University of Technology in Sydney and the girl was treated at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She is now in the care of Family and Community Services.
Specialist detectives from the NSW Police Sex Crimes Squad have also formed Strike Force Stockall to investigate the circumstances surrounding her ordeal.
The Australian Federal Police’s Human Trafficking Unit has also launched an investigation into the incident and is attempting to identify the man who brought the teenager to Australia.
Police have appealed for the woman who drove the teenager to Newtown, or anyone who heard or saw the teenager after she escaped from the unit on April 27, to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the AFP on 131 237.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.