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Australia Leading Efforts to Combat People Trafficking

Media Release

23 October 2009

Ministerial Media Release

Australia is at the forefront of efforts to fight the crime of people trafficking according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) released today.

The AIC’s Trafficking in persons monitoring report is the first to compile Australian and regional knowledge and responses to people trafficking. The report shows that from 2004 to 2008, the Australian Federal Police conducted 210 investigations, charged 34 people with trafficking offences and recorded seven convictions, while 113 people received assistance from the Government’s victim support scheme.

Trafficking in persons is a modern day form of slavery that involves the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people in order to exploit them through forced labour or servitude.

The report shows most people trafficked into Australia came from Southeast Asia and about 95 per cent of them were women put to work in the sex industry. Two cases were also brought for alleged trafficking for forced labour, an area of increasing regional concern.

Australia has adopted a whole-of-government response to people trafficking which includes a national policing strategy and specialist police investigation teams, enhanced visa arrangements, a victim support program and regional cooperation efforts.

This is an era of unprecedented global migration and Australia’s strong socio-economic position, with plentiful job opportunities in low-skilled sectors, means we remain a potential trafficking destination, but our strong border controls and law enforcement continue to mitigate that risk.

Little is still known about the regional extent of the problem and so it is important to improve knowledge of people trafficking through research, such as that being conducted by the AIC.

This first report from a four-year government-funded research program into people trafficking by the AIC, Trafficking in persons summarises Australia’s responses, provides data and looks at the emerging trends and issues in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

The aim of the program is to contribute to the effectiveness of the Australian and international response by conducting targeted research on priority issues and improving information gathering, communication and collaboration between regional stakeholders.

To view the report visit www.aic.gov.au

Media contact: Brian Humphreys 0438 595 567 or Customs & Border Protection media (02) 6275 6793

AIC contact: Scott Kelleher Telephone: 02 6260 9226; Mobile: 0418 159 525.