A campaign to focus community attention on human trafficking and slavery is being launched by the University of Technology Sydney’s Anti-Slavery Project this week.
According to organisers, many people in Australia know about some forms of human trafficking, but greater awareness is needed of the many forms that human trafficking and enslavement take.
Anti Slavery Project Director Associate Professor Jennifer Burn said the problem of human trafficking was bigger and broader than the sex industry.
“Many people would be surprised that the use of forced labour is becoming a serious problem in Australia, with consequences for local industries, workers and unions,” Professor Burn said.
“A recent report from the United States State Department shows that labour trafficking outside of the sex industry and internal trafficking are not well understood here in Australia.”
The Anti-Slavery Project is hopeful that a new website being launched will help people become familiar with all forms of trafficking. The new site provides case studies as examples as well as information about:
• How to spot the signs of trafficking and who to call to get help.
• Emerging issues such as trafficking for forced marriage, internal trafficking, and compensation for trafficked people.
The Anti-Slavery Project works with survivors of trafficking to find pathways to justice. Yet Professor Burn is worried opportunities to identify trafficked people may be missed.
“We know from our work in the community and with trafficked people that trafficking and slavery are poorly understood,” she said.
“Unless we open our eyes and know the signs, we may miss opportunities to identify trafficked people and make sure they get help and advice. I am particularly concerned about the lack of public awareness about trafficking for forced labour outside the sex industry.
“Employees and employers need more information about how to spot the signs that a person may have been trafficked and who to call to get help. We’re not just talking about migrant workers, trafficking can happen within Australia.”
The launch of the new Anti-Slavery website is the first step in a broader campaign to raise understanding about human trafficking among target groups like unions and migrant resource centres, as well as the wider Australian community.
“Over the next twelve months we will be working with unions, migrant resource centres and community legal centres to promote greater awareness of trafficking and make sure trafficked people get the help and advice they need,” Professor Burn said.
The Anti-Slavery Project‘s campaign to raise awareness of all forms of trafficking is funded by the Australian Government as part of its efforts to increase awareness of human trafficking and slavery in Australia.
Information on stopping modern-day slavery can be found here.