The Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor, in a positive move, has intimated that he wants to create new crimes whereby offenders are prosecuted for exploiting workers in the hospitality, construction and farming industries.

While trafficking of persons into Australia for the purposes of sexual servitude is a growing problem, it is a little known fact that workers in other Australians industries are forced to endure conditions of slavery and forced labour.

In a recent article, Mr O’Connor rightly identified that Australians would be surprised by the prevalence of slavery in their country. That is why targeting the issue through legislation would serve not just as a deterrent to the practice, but an important educational tool for the community.

The most recent edition of the ‘Trafficking in Persons Report’, which is produced by the U.S. State Department annually, details the extent of the global trade in people trafficking. There is an overview of how each country is impacted by trafficking. The section on Australia begins:

“Australia is a source and destination country for women subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically exploitation in forced prostitution, and, to a lesser extent, women and men in forced labor and children in commercial sexual exploitation”.