News

    Australia Faces Growing Human Trafficking Trend

    Phil Mercer

    Australia's Federal Police are warning that people trafficking is becoming an alarming and growing trend.  While most of the focus is on the smuggling of foreign women into Australia's sex industry, senior officers say there has been an increase of "slave labor" into other sectors, including construction and manufacturing. Federal officials have held a series of forums around Australia to help state and territory police identify both traffickers and victims. 

    Most of the women trafficked into Australia come from Asia and Eastern Europe.  They are often tricked with promises of a well-paid job or a place at college, but end up in sexual servitude.   There is also evidence that this type of trafficking is increasing in other sectors, including agriculture and manufacturing.  

    Victims are often too scared to go to the authorities out of fear of deportation or because of threats against family members.   

    Fiona David, from the Australian Institute of Criminology, says the problem is getting worse.

    “A family might bring out a domestic worker from another country to work in Australia as effectively unpaid slave labor around their house," explained David.  "We have also seen situations in the construction industry where, again, people are recruited through very deceptive means to come to Australia and work in what is described as a forced labor or slavery-type situation.”

    Australia’s Federal Police have held forums in Perth, Alice Springs and Darwin to help their state and territory colleagues identify both victims and perpetrators.  Officers say migrants who work excessively long hours, who are reluctant to reveal their immigration status or who have little or no choice of where they live or work could have been coerced into forced labor.

    Authorities concede that combating the trade will not be easy and convictions are rare because the abused are often too afraid to speak out.

    Commander Chris McDevitt from the Australian Federal Police says such vulnerable people need more protection.

    “They might be subject to physical violence or they might be under a debt bondage situation where they have to pay an unreasonable amount for being recruited or transported out here and that might build up so they have to buy food from the trafficker," McDevitt said. "Identity documents might be withheld and restrictions of freedom of movement;  those types of things that you would typically associate with slavery-type conditions.”     

    There is no reliable information on the number of people trafficked into Australia each year, although various estimates put the figure at around 1,000.   Although many are the victims of organized criminal gangs, Australian authorities say some are trafficked by friends and relatives.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora