A Thai woman who was kept as a slave has told a Sydney court her "heart is broken" and she'll live with the scars of her ordeal for the rest of her life.
The woman, who can't be named for legal reasons, wept quietly as an interpreter read out a victim impact statement at a sentencing hearing for Rungnapha "Lisa" Kanbut who kept her and another Thai woman as slaves.
Kanbut, 57, was found guilty by a NSW District Court jury in May of two counts each of intentionally possessing a slave, exercising powers of ownership over a slave and dealing with the proceeds of crime.
The two Thai women, who voluntarily came to Australia to do sex work, lived with Kanbut and her husband in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
They testified at Kanbut's trial that when they arrived she took their passports and returned them once they had each paid off a $45,000 "debt", which took some months.
As Kanbut was brought into the dock on Friday, she turned to glare at her victim, who was in court to share the impact the crimes had on her life.
Through her interpreter, the victim told the court she was made to service up to 10 clients a day. She was forced to work while she had her period.
"I vividly remember the pain I was in," she said in her statement.
"I had to use a sponge ... and continue to work when I was menstruating. I feel my heart is broken."
The woman believes using the sponge caused her ongoing "extreme debilitating pain" during her period. Doctors have told her she needs surgery to remove "membrane".
"Now when I menstruate, I can't even walk. I'm in extreme pain for several days," she said.
"I will have to live with the scars of these experiences for the rest of my life."
The woman said the pain left her unable to work for at least a week each month. She said she couldn't afford the surgery.
While she'd chosen to be a sex worker in Thailand, she'd had some dignity, the victim stated, but that was robbed when she worked for Kanbut.
"I did this work on my own terms," she said.
"(Now) I'm always embarrassed and awkward when asked by people how I came to Australia.
"Whenever someone speaks of this matter to me, my voice is shaking and the tears come."
The maximum term for keeping a slave in NSW is 25 years.
Kanbut's barrister, Jeffrey Clarke, told District Court Judge Nanette Williams his client had been a lower-ranking participant in the scheme to bring the women to Australia.
The court had previously heard that a man called Chang had organised the women's visas and flights to Australia.
Chang was also allegedly responsible for helping the women pass through immigration on tourist visas.
Mr Clarke noted Kanbut had stopped offending and the slavery occurred many years ago.
But crown prosecutor Peter Neil SC urged Judge Williams to consider the length of offending and its premeditated nature.
Judge Williams said the women had "effectively been in a prison without bars". She reserved her sentence until November 15.
Australian Associated Press