Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

$1.6 million investment in the fight against human trafficking

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Brenda O'Connor MP, Minister for Home Affairs and Justice
  • The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O’Connor has announced another $1.6 million will be invested in tackling human trafficking including sex and labour exploitation.

Mr O’Connor made the announcement at today’s third National Roundtable on People Trafficking at Parliament House in Canberra. The forum brings together anti-trafficking groups, unions, industry bodies and Ministers with a role to play in this important transnational issue.

“$1.4 million will be granted to four non-government organisations that each have a track record of delivering results for the victims of this heinous crime.”

The successful organisations are:

  • The Anti-Slavery Project (Sydney)
  • The Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (nationwide)
  • Project Respect (Collingwood, Melbourne)
  • The Scarlet Alliance (Surrey Hills, Sydney).

“This funding will support important anti-people trafficking activities, including community education and awareness programs and direct support for victims of trafficking.”

A further $200, 000 will be dedicated to a special collaborative project researching labour trafficking and identifying the most effective methods to prevent it.

Today’s investment builds on the $1 million previously granted to these organisations by the Labor Government in 2008.

“Community organisations are vital resource to victims of people trafficking and this support through the Proceeds of Crime Act fund will greatly assist these groups in their endeavours.”

Today’s Roundtable provides an ongoing mechanism for consulting, testing and developing government policy on people trafficking issues.

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen, said Australia has made important changes this year to help the victims of human trafficking.

“Changes to the People Trafficking Visa Framework have provided victims and their immediate family with greater certainty about their immigration status and greater protection,” Mr Bowen said.

Under the new arrangements, 21 permanent visas have been granted, 15 suspected victims have been granted bridging visas and 11 Criminal Justice Stay visas have been issued.

Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis, said today’s investment of $1.6 million builds on recent changes to the Support for Victims of People Trafficking Program.

“People trafficking is a major violation of human rights and it can affect women in a particularly severe way,” Ms Ellis said.

“The important changes the Gillard Government has made is enabling more victims to get support and today’s investment will help to bring a new level of community awareness to this international problem,” she said.

Since January 2004, 175 suspected victims have received assistance from the Support Program.

“The National Roundtable on People Trafficking is a valuable mechanism to develop innovative solutions and I look forward to making further progress today,” Mr O’Connor said.