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Brothel worker stole cash from boss

A KOREAN sex worker stole $50,000 in cash from her brothel manager before fleeing exploitation, a court has heard.

The woman, 21, had lived with her female manager and worked at the brothel at 39 Tope Street, South Melbourne, prosecutor Senior Constable Rachael Noon told the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday.

The accused, who buried her face and cried in the dock, had told police she worked from 10am to 1am, seven days a week after arriving in August on a working holiday visa. She said she did not feel she could refuse to work, even if she was sick.

Senior Constable Noon said the woman took $50,000 cash hidden in her manager's make-up boxes and shoeboxes, took her own belongings, and left the city apartment where she and the manager were living.

The woman, who relied on an interpreter in court, was arrested five days later on December 28 after trying to wire money back to Korea at a Korean grocery. She was recognised and reported to her manager who called police.

Defence Barrister Sarah Westwood, of Legal Aid, said it had been her dream to ''travel all over the world'' and that her ''ultimate'' goal was to work as a travel agent. She accepted the prosecution's summary of the crimes but said her client insisted she had worked at three Melbourne brothels, not just the one confirmed by police. Ms Westwood said: ''The [theft] victim was her manager in each of those brothels.''

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