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Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

Support for victims of people trafficking

Victims of people trafficking will have greater access to support services thanks to a funding boost from the Australian Government.

Some 83 per cent of trafficking victims identified in Australia are women working in the sex industry.

Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis announced the increased funding today, saying that it would support the important work of the Australian Red Cross in assisting victims of people trafficking.

New funding of around $100,000 will support the employment of more case workers and policy staff in NSW and Victoria.

“The nature of human trafficking crimes means that the victims are left extremely vulnerable and usually require individualised support,” Ms Ellis said.

“The needs of victims are extremely complex because they are often the result of serious mental and physical health issues and drug dependence.”

“The employment of additional case workers will ensure that the Government’s program continues to cater for the specific needs of individuals who have been trafficked.”

The Australian Red Cross administers the Government’s Support for Victims of People Trafficking program, which provides invaluable financial, social and psychological support to victims of human trafficking.

The program is currently supporting 65 individuals across Australia who have experienced terrible hardships that no human being should have to endure.

“People trafficking is a despicable trade and victims of trafficking experience the very worst breaches of their human rights,” Ms Ellis said.

“I am proud to support this project, which is essential in helping the survivors of people trafficking to get the compassionate and practical assistance they need in order to rebuild their lives.”

This funding comes in addition to the Government’s new $1.6 million investment in tackling human trafficking, including sex and labour exploitation announced in November and the overall investment of $3.02 million for the Support for Victims of People Trafficking Program.

It will support anti-people trafficking activities, including community education and awareness programs and direct support for victims of trafficking. A further $200,000 will fund research into labour trafficking to identify the most effective methods to prevent it.