Luigi Acquisto2005, 2011

Trafficked is a set of two films that follow a former-police officer’s quest to find the man who enslaved a young Thai girl in a Sydney brothel. The series explores the trafficking of women and children for prostitution as a global problem. The United Nations estimates that more than one million children are forced into sexual slavery each year. Some of them are trafficked into Australia.


The film follows former-police officer turned private investigator, Chris Payne, as he investigates this shocking crime. As a member of the Australian Federal Police, Payne headed a special operation called Paper Tiger, aimed at combating sex trafficking in the mid 1990s. For a decade, he was been haunted by the case of “Nikkie,” a young Thai girl found working in a Sydney brothel. Her rapid deportation stopped the police investigation in its tracks. Payne left the police force disillusioned and is now looking for answers, and Nikkie. How did she end up in that brothel? What happened to her afterwards? Payne follows the trail of evidence from Australia to Asia, and along the way, he meets the parents of Phuongtong (Noi) Simpalee, another Thai sex slave whose death in an immigration detention centre in Sydney made headlines. Through these stories and Payne’s own experiences, this film provides a disturbing insight into the international sex trade.

Ning was thirteen when she was trafficked to Australia and sold to a Sydney brothel operator. Chris Payne was an AFP officer at the time, running Australia’s first anti-trafficking operation. A month before Immigration officials found Ning his operation was shut down and he was ordered not to investigate the case. Fifteen years later Payne mounts an investigation, determined to solve this cold case, and to put to rest some unfinished business.