The alleged kingpin of a human trafficking ring is facing deportation after law enforcement agencies launched an investigation into how the criminal syndicate exploited flaws in Australian border security and the immigration system to run a national illegal sex racket.
Binjun Xie, the alleged Sydney-based crime boss at the operation’s centre, was exposed in the Trafficked investigation, a project led by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, 60 Minutes and Stan’s Revealed that also unveiled allegations of visa rorting, human trafficking and foreign worker exploitation in Australia, including in a booming underground prostitution industry.
Binjun Xie, the alleged kingpin of a human trafficking syndicate, is now the focus of an investigation by Australian law enforcement agencies. Credit:60 Minutes
In a joint statement, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said an investigation into the revelations was under way following an urgent meeting of the heads of the Australian Border Force, Home Affairs, and the Australian Federal Police on Monday.
“Last night and this morning, 60 Minutes and the Nine papers outlined a series of allegations detailing grotesque abuse of Australia’s visa and migration system to facilitate sexual exploitation, human trafficking and other organised crime,” the statement said.
“The allegations detailed repulsive and egregious abuses of human rights that have no place in Australia or any other country.”
The ministers said the government’s immediate response would “focus on the individual elements of the conduct under investigation”.
“The Albanese government has no tolerance for the exploitation of migrants,” they said.
The ministers did not detail exactly who or what would be investigated, but this masthead has confirmed that Xie and migration agents used by the trafficking ring are the focus, with Xie facing deportation depending on the outcome of the investigation.
They also indicated further reviews into the visa system would follow, saying the reports demonstrated there were “broader, systemic failures on show” that required “urgent attention” and blamed the former Coalition government for neglecting the system.
In a press conference on Monday, ABF Acting Commander Tori Rosemond said the revelations were “confronting”, but declined to weigh in on Xie’s involvement and whether he would be deported.
“We don’t comment on individual cases. We also don’t comment on things that may be subject to ongoing investigation or operational activity so I can’t provide further details,” she said.
Rosemond said the ABF shared information and intelligence with Australia’s law enforcement partners both domestically and internationally but declined to comment on how Xie managed to enter Australia on a student visa after being deported from the UK.
Former Immigration Department deputy secretary Abul Rizvi told this masthead the revelations, along with data suggesting visa rorting had been exploding since 2014, indicated the Department of Home Affairs and the former government had failed to take effective action.
Coalition home affairs spokeswoman Karen Andrews, who held the portfolio under the Morrison government, said she had not been made aware of large-scale visa rorting by crime syndicates while minister, but said the revelations were “disturbing” and urged the government to investigate.
“I think that now it has been raised, now it’s out in the public forum, and there may well be information the current government has had more specifically than I had several months ago. But now’s the time that we need to look at what we can do to close those loopholes,” she told ABC radio.
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