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An Australian couple allegedly kept several young women between the ages of 17 to 24 as sex slaves – some of whom were branded as the man’s “property,” according to a report.
Matthew James Markcrow, 35, and his girlfriend Crystal Marie Sawyer, 23, appeared in a Brisbane court Friday after police uncovered evidence to support “sexual servitude and organized prostitution” during raids in Queensland this week, news.com.au reported.
Police allege the victims were drugged while subjected to controlled living, financial and work conditions.
Photos posted on social media by Markcrow also show tattoos branding some of the women as “Property of Matt M,” the outlet said.
Markcrow was charged with conducting unlawful prostitution, making recordings in breach of privacy, contravening an order about electronic information and conducting a business involving sexual servitude of a girl under 18.
Sawyer was charged with conducting unlawful prostitution and contravening an order about electronic information, news.com.au reported.
Markcrow has been kept in custody, while his girlfriend was granted bail — despite allegations that she exerted control over the women and concerns she may run the business during her boyfriend’s absence.
“Police observed other girls follow Sawyer’s leadership during the search … she demonstrated a degree of control over the other girls,” said police Sgt. Mark Hughes.
Defense attorney Lily Berkeley argued that there was no firm evidence that Sawyer had been involved in the business and said the charges were brought “somewhat prematurely.”
The judge granted Sawyer bail on condition that she must not contact the witnesses and to report to police twice a week.
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