Human trafficking

Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — One of the hidden crimes that takes place across the world is the illegal trading of humans. It is estimated that nearly 21 million people are trafficked for profit globally. Unfortunately Australia is not unaffected by this crime; sex slavery is happening in Victoria. According to a report published in 2014 the Victorian deputy commissioner of police at the time, Mr Graham Ashton, said:

About 60 to 70 per cent of human trafficking in Australia occurs in the sex industry … but people were also being trafficked for forced labour, domestic servitude and forced marriage.

The report tabled by the Royal Commission into Family Violence states that there are serious shortcomings in how police and the family violence system respond to the experience of women who work in the sex industry. Victims often feel invisible or overlooked in the broader family violence system in terms of both prevention and response. The royal commission report also confirms that no reliable data on the number, sex or gender identity of people who work in the sex industry in Victoria exists. However, it identifies an urgent need to ensure that sex workers who are victims of family violence can access the support of police, family violence services and other related services.

In a recent article published in the Age police warned that a rash of illegal brothels in Melbourne CBD apartments may harbour trafficked women as sex workers. The police are calling it an illegal pop-up industry.

Recently in this house I have spoken about forced marriages, honour killings and genital mutilation. Overwhelmingly this violence is gender-based. Like family violence, it is a result of gender inequality, and like family violence, it has no place in our progressive, fair and inclusive Victoria.

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