Vulnerable young women from Southeast Asia are increasingly being trafficked for sex in Queensland's booming mining towns, police say.
Mount Isa Police District Inspector Paul Biggin has told the Australian that officers in the inland Queensland city and other mining towns are increasingly being confronted with the problem.
He spoke of "women and girls who cannot speak English, or who have a very low level of English, and a very low level of education, who are basically being trafficked for sex, from one mining town to the next".
"They are working on a fly-in, fly-out basis, two weeks here, two weeks in the next town and so on; they are being advertised as available in the local newspapers, and they are coerced or threatened into doing it," Biggin said.
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"They are being told they cannot go to the police because in the countries they come from, the police might even be part of the problem."
He said threats were also made against their families.
"And whenever we have an operation to target them, they come into the station and you can see that they are being controlled mentally and physically and it's very difficult to get them to open up to authority and enable us to help them."
Biggin was speaking after being selected for the Donald Mackay Churchill Fellowship, aimed at halting the trafficking of women for sexual servitude. He will soon travel overseas to see what police forces elsewhere are doing to combat the problem.