They told me I'd be a maid.. but I was forced to be a sex slave for perverts; EXCLUSIVE: GIRL WHO HELPED BUSTpounds 1M-A-YR THAI VICE EMPIRE.
ATEENAGE sex slave who helped smash Britain's biggest Thai vice-girl ring told last night how she was beaten, abused and exposed to AIDS.
Mary Pondee revealed how she was lured to London with promises of a well-paid job as a family maid - but instead was kept against her will and made to have sex with hundreds of men.
The naive Thai country girl was duped into vice by two sisters - Bubpha Savada, 45, and Monporn Hughes, 41.
After Mary courageously gave evidence against them at Southwark Crown Court last week, both women, along with Savada's husband Pathinage
Ranasinghe, 33, were jailed for running a multi-million pound vice ring. But the verdict can never bring back Mary's innocence.
Last night she said: "Men would pay an extra pounds 50 to have sex without a condom. The brothel owners tried to make me do it and I saw lots of other girls have sex without protection.
"I was terrified I would contract HIV and AIDS and that I would die slowly in the brothel."
She added: "I always refused to have sex without a condom but I would be screamed at and threatened with violence.
"I was once beaten with a rattan cane when I refused to let a man perform a particular sex act on me which I thought was unnatural.
"Sometimes I believed I would be better off dead."
Mary frequently broke down as she told the Sunday Mirror of her three-month ordeal.
She said: "I was 16 years old when I came to your country. I was still a child. They didn't just steal my body, they robbed me of all my dignity."
Mary - not her real name - is still too scared to reveal her identity because of threats made to her family before she gave evidence behind a screen at court.
She is now back in Thailand having been deported as an illegal immigrant.
Speaking at a hotel on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok she said: "I thought coming to Britain would be my dream. I was told I would get work as a maid to a good family who would pay me a big wage so that I could send the money back to help my family in Thailand.
"I believed everything I was told. I did not realise what was going on until it was too late and I had to allow men to have many kinds of sex. Anything the man wanted I had to agree to."
Mary, now 18, nervously flicks her dyed brown hair from her eyes as she reflects on her suffering at the hands of the brothel madams.
For three years the two sisters ran a network of 20 sex dens in London and the Home Counties. They were finally arrested last year.
Mary grew up with her elder brother and sister on her parents' tiny subsistence rice farm in Petchabun, about 300 miles from Bangkok.
Aged 13, she left for the Thai capital and got a job on a noodle stall run by an aunt. A wide-eyed farm girl in the big city, she was befriended by a 23-year-old woman named Oy who ate regularly at the stall.
Mary said: "Oy said she had found the perfect job for me. I could earn 30,000 baht (pounds 433) every month if I wanted to work abroad as some sort of maid."
She said all Mary needed was money to cover the cost of her passport, visa and air ticket.
In reality, Oy, who is still being hunted by Thai police, was a fixer for Savada and Hughes. She received huge fees for sending them girls.
Mary said: "I was told all I would have to do was house cleaning, laundry and looking after children or old people. I knew nothing of England. I had heard the expression 'Phoo di angriti' (English gentleman) and I knew that foreigners were rich and could probably pay this amount of money.
"Oy told me that if I could find 40,000 baht (pounds 577) she could arrange it quickly."
Mary said she was very excited at the prospect and her parents borrowed the cash she needed from the village moneylender.
She said: "We were very poor. I believed I could clear all our debts in a year."
On July 3 last year Oy told Mary she had secured her a job. She even bought the girl a suitcase and a warm coat.
Mary said: "At the airport Oy told me to change into a suit and put my hair up to make me look older. I saw why when I checked in. I opened my passport and saw that although it was my picture the passport belonged to someone aged 34.
"I was worried and didn't understand. My stomach was churning but I felt I couldn't go back because I'd feel as though I had let my family down."
A man Mary had never met before sat next to her on the plane.
She said: "He struck up a conversation. When I told him I was going to a place in London called East Ham, he said he lived nearby and could help me get there.
"He never told me his name. 'Just call me Pi (big brother),' he said. It sounds silly but I just thought it was fate that he had sat next to me. I can't believe I was so stupid.
"Before we arrived in London he filled in my immigration form for me. After going through immigration he took me to a train."
He then escorted her to a terraced house on a run-down street in East London. She was greeted by Bubpha Savada. She offered Mary the chance to rest in a bedroom, but she was too distressed to sleep.
She said: "I went downstairs. The man had gone. I went to ask Bubpha what the family was like that I was going to work with, but she interrupted me.
"'What are you talking about?' she said. 'Do you think you can earn 30,000 baht a month here working as a maid? You silly country girl. What do you think I am? Social services? Do you think you I am a charity? No. You have come to "rap kaek" (receive guests).'
"I replied, 'But I have never done that and I'm not going to start now. I was promised a job as a maid.'
"Savada screamed: 'Do you think you can earn in a month here what your family earns in a year by house cleaning? You will start having farangs (foreigners) and you start tomorrow.'"
Savada revealed she had paid Oy pounds 6,000 for Mary and demanded repayment of pounds 22,000 to cover her own "costs" before she would let Mary go.
She said the only way Mary could earn this money was through prostitution - and threatened that her parents' home would be burnt down if she did not get to work.
At that stage Savada failed to tell her that the brothel would take half her earnings, meaning she would have to earn pounds 44,000 to escape her horror. Mary said: "I went back to my room and cried into the pillow. I knew they had all the details of my family. I had nowhere to turn to."
That evening, 17 more young Thai girls arrived at the house which was used as a first-stop centre for newly-arrived prostitutes.
Mary said: "I was introduced to them but did not talk to anybody because I was so frightened."
The next morning Savada gave Mary pounds 5 and told her to buy clothes from a local market. She bought two T-shirts, but Savada was furious. "She said she told me to buy something sexy, not T-shirts.
"At lunchtime I was taken by Tube to a house in Walthamstow. I was told I would be working there.
"I was introduced to one of Bubpha's maids. My room had a small bed with a low light. The curtains were drawn. On a table was a dish of condoms.
"The maid gave me a black nightdress to wear with nothing underneath. I was left in the room. I was very scared and cried a bit."
Mary was told that on arrival clients would would be given a "menu" which contained a list of sexual services written in English and Thai - hand relief for pounds 25, oral sex at pounds 50, sexual intercourse for pounds 100 and an unnatural sex act, costing pounds 200. There was a pounds 50 surcharge for sex without a condom.
Mary said: "I was told the man would point at what he wanted and I must do it."
Later that day, Mary was told to have sex with her first customer, who she was told was "a bank manager".
The punter stayed for 30 minutes and paid pounds 80 to the maid.
Mary said: "I felt awful. I went to the bathroom and cleaned up, then went to bed. I was numb."
The bank manager became a regular - one of up to four men a day she would have to satisfy.
Mary was "on call" seven days a week. She could be woken at any time by the arrival of a client.
She says she blotted out the sex by turning to her Buddhist faith.
"I have been told all my life that when suffering comes you have to bear it with dignity because it was meant to be. This is what I did all the time."
Mary's lowest point came when she was severely beaten for refusing to take part in an unnatural sex act.
"The man was furious and asked for his money back. The maid took me from the room, beat me on my bottom with a rattan cane and sent me back in again. Then the customer did what he wanted to do.
"After that I did what they wanted because I was always in fear of getting a beating or worse."
In between clients, Mary watched TV and videos of Mr Bean.
She was moved between brothels, mainly in London but she also spent weeks in Southampton.
"At the end of my first week I had earned pounds 920. Savada sent someone to collect me and the money."
Mary knew there was no point in trying to escape because she was scared her family would suffer.
She wasn't allowed to write or call home, and her passport had been taken away from her.
Sometimes a man would be brought into the lounge to choose a girl before going upstairs. Mary said: "I hated that. They would just stare at you. It was horrible."
Mary's ordeal came to an end at dawn on September 17 last year when police raided the chain of brothels. Codenamed Operation Horsley, the raids were the culmination of eight months surveillance by Scotland Yard's elite Clubs and Vice Unit.
Police recovered pounds 21,905 wrapped in a plastic bag at the East Ham home of Savada.
Mary, who was discovered in a brothel in Basildon, Essex, was deported the next day.
She was reunited with her distraught parents who couldn't believe their daughter had suffered such a terrible ordeal.
Last night she said: " I can never forget what happened in your country."
Superintendent Chris Bradford, of the Clubs and Vice Unit, said: "Mary is an extremely brave young woman who has gone through hell.
"She was the only girl who would give evidence against these people and went through the ordeal of being cross-examined in court.
"The jury were able to hear the truth from one of the girls affected. It made a powerful impact on them."
Mary is now working back on her aunt's noodle stall earning the equivalent of pounds 1 a week.
Her family have had to leave their farm because of threats from thugs linked to the vice gangs and are now staying with relatives in a crowded flat in Bangkok.
Mary fears they will never be able to return to the farm. She said: "It has been very hard for them - they are very afraid.
"Sometimes I think our lives have been ruined. I do not think we will ever go back to our old life. But I will not give up, never."
THE VILLAINSBubpha Savada
THE prime mover who controlled the girls. She also sold them on to other brothels to increase profits.
Jailed for five years.Pathinage Ranasinghe
HE managed the brothels, organising advertising, paying the rent and overseeing 'training' brothels. Jailed for two years.Monporn Hughes
DISTANCED herself from the day-to-day running, but believed to be in charge of the huge flow of cash. Jailed for three-and-a-half years.
SEEDY: One of the London brothels; LURE: Girls advertised on phone box cards; COURAGEOUS: 'Mary back in Bangkok - her family still dare not return to their home
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|Publication:||Sunday Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jun 8, 2003|
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