On Thursday 8th March, Hon. Paul Green MLC introduced a Modern Slavery Bill, the first of its kind in Australia.

Human Trafficking is an abhorrent form of modern slavery. It is a transnational crime that preys on the most vulnerable. Human trafficking includes slavery and slavery like practices such as servitude, forced labour, debt bondage, organ trafficking, deceptive recruiting as well as forced marriage and childhood brides.

“Slavery and human trafficking has been around since the beginning of time. Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. It is a transnational crime that preys on society’s most vulnerable. Human trafficking includes slavery and slavery-like practices such as servitude, forced labour, debt bondage, organ trafficking, deceptive recruiting and child cybersex trafficking as well as forced marriage and childhood brides. Unfortunately, the data does not reflect the true levels of modern slavery due to its very nature of being a clandestine activity that hides in the shadow of our communities on a daily basis. However, according to the Global Slavery Index 2016, it is estimated that 45.8 million people worldwide, and more than 4,000 people in Australia, are victims of some form of slavery. Drugs are sold once and used, but people can be sold time and time again.

You may have seen the recent Four Corners episode called “Behind Closed Doors” by Louise Mulligan. The story tells of three people — from Pakistan, Thailand and the Philippines — who were employed to work for embassies in Canberra. They were subjected to extreme working conditions such as low or no pay, excessively long hours and no recreation days. Their living conditions were unacceptable; they were not allowed to practice their faith; threats were made to their life and their families’ lives; and their passports were removed. Those are basic human rights that every man, woman and child is entitled to.

The Salvation Army found at least 20 known cases of that type of modern slavery in embassies in Canberra. It is modern slavery, sadly, alive and well in our own backyard, our nation’s capital. There are stories of women being promised work as cleaners only to be forcefully put into sexual exploitation. They were forced to work long hours with no pay and their basic freedoms and rights were removed from them in order to pay off their pimp or trafficker.

The Daily Telegraph recently reported that girls as young as 12 were being kept as sex slaves and used as prostitutes in Sydney’s west. They reported that vulnerable girls were pimped out to older men in seedy motels after being recruited through Facebook.

Child sex trafficking is a much bigger problem than most people realise. Pedophiles are paying as little as $40 to watch a child abused and tortured live online. The volume of Australians who are uploading, sharing and downloading child pornography is actually skyrocketing.

Australians can get online and order a child, and order what they would like happen to that child, and that could mean anything from undressing of a child and seeing them naked, right through to torture, rape and in the most extreme cases the murder of a child.

According to the United Nations 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 79 per cent of human trafficking is for sexual exploitation and the victims are predominantly women and girls. Children account for 20 per cent of trafficked victims worldwide. That is approximately 9.16 million children, or the equivalent of 16,838 A380 plane loads of children.

We hear of the rise of young girls forced into illegal marriage, exposing them to long-term abuse and rape with the consent of their families. Regardless of religious or cultural background, it is unacceptable and reprehensible to expose children to a forced marriage whether it happens in Australia or through taking the child overseas.”

Adapted from this speech by the Hon. Paul Green MLC (Christian Democratic Party) introducing the NSW Modern Slavery Bill 2018.

 

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