SLAVERY IS A 21ST CENTURY PROBLEM IN AUSTRALIA
Today in Melbourne, the Australian Parliament’s Joint Committee on Law Enforcement is holding its first public hearing examining the Commonwealth’s law enforcement responses to human trafficking.
The clear message that the Committee has been hearing today concerns the significant gaps in the Commonwealth’s response to human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices – particularly the exploitation of overseas workers, women being brought to Australia for forced marriage, and the ability of victims to access support services.
Shockingly, today’s testimony to the Committee has also revealed that Australian girls continue to be taken overseas for forced marriages and that, despite forced marriage allegations to the Australian Federal Police having increased by over 600 per cent, current funding shortfalls limit education about forced marriage to just nine schools.
As Deputy Chair of the Committee on Law Enforcement, I can say that there is no limit to how seriously Labor takes this issue. That is why I asked the Committee to reinstate this inquiry last year – because it is our duty as parliamentarians to do everything we can to implement the very best possible safeguards for the protection of vulnerable individuals.
These public hearings enable the committee to better understand modern day slavery’s extent and the increasing sophistication of this global trade in human lives.
The Committee will be making recommendations based on today’s evidence – focusing on the best way to address the problems of people trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices as well as how to prosecute offenders effectively and protect and support victims.
Public hearings will also be held tomorrow in Sydney and in Canberra on Wednesday, 10 May 2017. More information can be found on the Inquiry’s home page.
THURSDAY, 4 MAY 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: TAIMUS WERNER-GIBBINGS 0429 820 344