Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

Improved support for victims of human trafficking

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP, Minister for Home Affairs and Justice

Survivors of human trafficking will benefit from greater support with today’s announcement of a training package which will help hundreds of community service workers to lift their skills and abilities to assist victims.

Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis, today announced that $126,960 will go to the Australian Red Cross to develop and deliver professional training to at least 500 community service workers.

“The Australian Red Cross currently manages Support for Victims of People Trafficking Program, so the organisation is well placed to design and deliver this training,” Ms Ellis said.

“The package will train community workers to identify potential victims of trafficking, better understand their needs and provide the best possible support to help them to recover and look forward to a better life.”

Over the next year, up to 18 Red Cross case workers will be trained to deliver more than 50 training sessions, across eight locations in Australia.

Ms Ellis said the training sessions and associated materials will be based on the real life experiences of trafficked people and will be developed in consultation with the victims and with community services.

“The victims of trafficking and their families suffer greatly as a result of this heartless crime, which is why they need Australia’s support to recover from this terrible experience,” Ms Ellis said.

Ms Ellis launched the new program in line with the release of new statistics from the Support for Victims of People Trafficking Program, which show female sex workers making up 81 per cent of trafficked victims found in Australia.

“It’s concerning that the new information reinforces that women are the most vulnerable when it comes to sex trafficking, which is why we need highly skilled community service workers who can tailor adequate support to each victim’s needs.

The Minister for Justice Brendan O’Connor said the Australian Government is focusing on combating human trafficking through the whole of government Anti-People Trafficking Strategy.

“Through the strategy we have been actively improving support and resources for victims of human trafficking, including sexual and labour exploitation,” Mr O’Connor said.

“We’ve recently made changes to the People Trafficking Visa Framework to provide victims with greater certainty about their immigration status and greater protection.

“We’re now looking at introducing new charges to better target slavery, forced marriage and exploitative labour practices.

“This grant builds on the $1.6 million the Australian Government will deliver in 2011-12 to several anti-people trafficking organisations for greater community education and direct support for victims.”