Edijburgh friends later learned that she had been working as a prostitute in an illegal massage parlour. One of those friends, Jenny Lu, a Taiwanese art school graduate, began a journey to find out about her secret life.
Some readers may find aspects of this story upsetting. She looked really normal," recalls director Lu.
She went to London because she wanted a better life. But she ended up living a double life that no-one knew about.
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How come no-one knew about this and no-one was able to help? They were immigrants from mainland China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Like some of the women, Anna arrived in the UK on a fake marriage.
Anna's family had paid a lot of money to arrange this fake marriage for her. She worked really hard to try to pay back the debt and to support massage brother in China," Ms Lu explains.
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Other women came here on fake passports. Some were divorced and wanted to start a new life in the UK.
Some wanted to earn money to support their children. Others, including those from Taiwan, were language students enticed by money.
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After arriving in the UK, many realised it was much harder than they had expected to chinatwn, not to mention achieve their dream, so they resorted to working at the massage parlours, Lu said. A brutal awakening The Receptionist is based on the lives of the employees and clients at a massage parlour in London, as seen through the eyes of a Taiwanese graduate employed as a receptionist there.
It unabashedly portrays the treatment the women endure, including being subjected to abuse and extreme fetishes. Gangsters demanded "protection" money from the women, and would beat, rob and rape them if they didn't pay up, knowing they wouldn't dare call the police.
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So I arranged for them to meet the women," she tells. Digging a hole While some women eventually quit, many stayed even though they were not forced to, and even after they had made some money.
Not fluent in English, they worried they would have a hard time finding a well-paid job. They think: 'How can I afford to keep living if I don't do this?
It's like a hole they dig for themselves. So many people can't get out. They worked day and night.
Their curtains were always drawn. :.