AceNewsDesk – Complaints of human trafficking in Australia continues to increase year on year, with the AFP receiving 340 reports of offences including forced marriage and sexual servitude in just 12 months over the 2022/23 financial year.
Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Dec.10: 2023: AFP Police News: TELEGRAM Ace Daily News Link https://t.me/+PuI36tlDsM7GpOJe
The increase in reports come as the AFP completes the national rollout of the Look-a-Little-Deeper campaign, a program aimed at helping law enforcement identify the indicators of human trafficking and slavery. The program has been delivered to more than 3000 participants from police agencies and other government departments, across 137 presentations.
The 2022/23 financial year data represents an increase of 46 reports compared to the 2021/22 financial year. In the 12 months of the 2022/23 financial year, the AFP received:
- 90 reports of forced marriage;
- 90 reports of trafficking (inclusive of entry, exit and child trafficking);
- 73 reports of sexual exploitation;
- 43 reports of forced labour;
- 18 reports of debt bondage;
- 16 reports of domestic servitude;
- 6 reports of deceptive recruitment; and
- 4 reports of slavery.
AFP Commander Human Exploitation Helen Schneider said the AFP took a victim-centric approach to human trafficking investigations, prioritising the victim-survivor’s needs, personal safety and interests.
“Disrupting human trafficking represents an excellent outcome. Instead of prosecuting a forced marriage, if we can prevent it from occurring in the first place then it’s a positive for the investigators and the would-be victim,” Commander Schneider said.
“Investigators also look for opportunities to disrupt and prevent human trafficking offences, as well as educating the community.”
In 2022, the AFP became aware of a woman who was being threatened with a forced marriage by members of her family. Assistance was provided to the woman, including relocating her to new accommodation and a travel alert was placed to prevent her from being forced to travel overseas.
Commander Schneider said the increase in reporting of human trafficking was an encouraging sign.
“We know that human trafficking is an under-reported crime type. Many victim-survivors feel ashamed or confused about what’s happened to them and those feelings are leveraged by offenders to maintain their silence,” Commander Schneider said.
“We hope that with an increase in public awareness, people who would have otherwise remained silent now feel empowered to report their experiences to the AFP.
“Australia is not immune to human trafficking but we will do everything we can to protect victim–survivors and put offenders before the courts.”
On 5 December, 2023, in Canberra the AFP presented the increased figures at the National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery, which is the primary consultative mechanism between government and civil society on human trafficking and slavery.
The Look-a-Little-Deeper program is an AFP initiative to help raise awareness of human trafficking by training law enforcement and other agencies with a human trafficking remit. The program aims to help front line responders understand the indicators of human trafficking, when they might be encountered and how to report suspected cases to the AFP.
The program is estimated to have reached more than 140,000 members of state, territory and Commonwealth agencies over the past four years.
Common indicators of human trafficking include:
- Appearing to be under the control of someone else and reluctant to interact with others;
- Not having access to personal identification such as a passport or other travel documents;
- Appearing frightened, withdrawn, or showing signs of physical or psychological abuse,
- Having no access or control of their earnings, and;
- Showing signs their movements are being controlled or are under constant surveillance by another person.
A list of signs to identify potential human trafficking and slavery in Australia are available.
If you suspect that you or another person is experiencing, or at risk of, modern slavery or human trafficking, call 131 AFP (237) or use the AFP’s confidential online form. If you have immediate concerns for your safety, the safety of another person, or there is an emergency, dial Triple Zero (000).
The Support for Trafficked People Program is a key component of Australia’s response to support victims of human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices, and is delivered nationally by the Australian Red Cross.
Human trafficking offences involve the physical movement of people across or within borders by coercing, threatening or deceiving them for the purpose of exploiting them when they reach their destination.
Slavery and slavery like offences involve the ownership of a person or exploitation of a person in circumstances similar to slavery.