‘Sex slave ring’ accused used Facebook to contact women
The man accused of being a "pimp" and keeping sex slaves that he drugged and prostituted after luring them on social media regularly messaged "vulnerable" girls on Facebook, police allege.
The Sunday Mail has spoken to young women who knew Matthew James Markcrow, including one who said she was messaged by him out of the blue and invited to meet him at his home.
Markcrow, 35, was arrested on Thursday and is alleged to have been running a prostitution racket made up of young women and girls he'd allegedly lured through social media, drugged and exploited.
Some of the girls had been tattooed with "Property of Matt M", an aspect police said they'd found "shocking" and "confronting".
Police have also alleged they discovered secret recordings of the girls with clients.
Markcrow is facing 10 charges, including conducting a business involving servitude where the victim is under 18, conducting a business of unlawful prostitution, contravening an order, possession of dangerous drugs, possession of tainted property and recording in breach of privacy.
He is jointly charged with his girlfriend, Crystal Marie Sawyer, 23, who fronted court accused of conducting a business of unlawful prostitution and contravening an order.
Markcrow remains in custody but Sawyer was released on bail.
A police prosecutor told the Brisbane Magistrates Court that Sawyer "is now the senior girl and exerts authority".
During his appearance, Markcrow mouthed "I love you" to young women who were in court to support him and made a heart symbol as he was led away.
Police have alleged the young women were kept at a house in Brisbane's southern suburbs and driven to an inner-city apartment to have sex with clients.
Detective Inspector Juliet Hancock from the Prostitution Enforcement Taskforce said some of the women were heavily drugged when police raided the house and did not appear to understand the exploitation allegations detectives were making.
Police found four women and girls at the house and believe there have been more involved. They have made a public appeal for any other girls involved in his alleged prostitution racket to come forward.
The Sunday Mail has since spoken with young women who know or have been contacted by Markcrow, with one saying he was known to spend time with teenage girls while in his mid-20s and living in Murwillumbah.
Another said she was contacted randomly by Markcrow several years ago after breaking up with her boyfriend.
"I liked a picture of his and he went through and spammed me. Next thing I know, I had a message from him," she said.
"He wanted to meet me. Said he would cook us dinner because he wasn't very 'social' so he didn't like to go out.
"Promised he could buy me expensive things (and) offered beautiful lingerie gifts.
"(We) organised to meet up a few times but I never followed through.
"I never met up with him because he wanted it to be alone at his place or somewhere with his friends."
Markcrow's Facebook accounts are filled with offensive comments but the woman said he did not always post that kind of material.
"Don't worry about how many hoes I got. Do u wana be one or not?" he wrote in December.
Originally published as 'Sex slave ring' accused used Facebook to contact women