On November 13 last year, the decomposing bodies of two Chinese women were discovered in their room in Auburn, Sydney. According to an article in the Australian over the weekend, police are “baffled”, but things seem pretty clear to me. Some of the facts:
- The two women were from a remote area in Yunnan province, China, where they worked as manual labourers, earning about $100 per month.
- Looking for work, they travelled to a nearby city, where ten days later they joined a tour group bound for Australia.
- They arrived in Sydney in September, having already visited Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland.
- They didn’t return to China with their group. Instead they applied for refugee status and began to freelance in Sydney brothels. They rented a room in a tiny apartment in Auburn.
- In November, one of the women’s boyfriends discovered their bodies. Their throats were slit. Nobody in the apartment saw or heard a thing.
According to the article, police believe the women were involved in an elaborate form of sex trafficking: organisations in China pay for the women to travel to Australia on a tour (which costs about four times what they would have normally earned in a year). Then the women, once they start working the streets, send money back to the organisation. Pressure to comply is placed on the families of the women back home.
But the police, at least as stated in the Australian, don’t know why they died. Personally, I think it’s safe to assume that they were killed by the organisation that they were working for in China. The group obviously has links in Sydney – this is where the women came to work, and they would have had references to local people to get them started.
My theory is that the women weren’t paying the group the money as they should have been. The group then put pressure on the women’s families, as promised, but this didn’t have the intended effect. Probably the women had considered this already and were more concerned with improving their own lot in Sydney. I imagine that the lifestyle and standard of living they encountered here had something to do with it.
So when the women didn’t respond to the pressure exerted on their families, the group acted in Sydney and killed them both. The dramatic nature of the deaths serves as a warning to other women involved in the same scam. The women’s flatmates and other locals didn’t see anything because they’re more scared of this group than they are of the police.
Grim, yes. But plausible.