Sydney pair kept sex slaves

A Sydney couple convicted of keeping sex slaves were described as "bad people without a conscience" by one of their five Thai victims, a judge has heard.

The woman had written in her diary: "I happen to live with someone who has such a black heart, like a crow, both husband and wife".

Later she said: "Bad people, without conscience and do not feel pity to others, psycho family, the cruellest Thai woman I have ever met".

Crown prosecutor Bruce Levet today read out the entry during sentencing submissions in the NSW District Court for Trevor McIvor, 60, and his estranged wife, Kanokporn Tanuchit, 42.

They were each found guilty last year of five counts of possessing a slave and five counts of using a slave – the first successful prosecution of its kind in NSW.

Mr Levet said the women were forced to work at McIvor's Fairfield brothel, in Sydney's west, seven days a week for an average of 16 hours a day.

"They forced the victims to work in locked premises without giving them keys," he said.

He said they did not allow the women to leave without being in their company or with a trusted person, their passports were confiscated and they had restricted phone access.

They also were subjected to demeaning treatment while being forced to work off debts of between $A35,000 (NZ$45,000) to $A45,000.

Describing the crimes as "heinous", Mr Levet contended the couple should receive a "considerable" jail term, noting the maximum penalty available was 25 years.

In her victim impact statement, one woman wrote: "I don't know why they treated me that way, as if I was not a human being".

Another said "the scar" in her heart would never be healed, while a third said she suffered with every client.

Paul Cattini, for Tanuchit, said she was an Australian citizen who came to this country in 1995, meeting McIvor the next year when she went to work in his massage parlour.

She was now separated from him.

Michael Byrne QC, for McIvor, said he was a trained butcher who had worked in the sex industry for a long time and had committed no previous serious breaches of the law.

Mr Byrne read out extracts of evidence from witnesses, who called McIvor "Papa", and who said they were free to refuse sexual activities they did not want to do.

Judge Ken Taylor said he would sentence them "as soon as practical".