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Slavery in our own backyard

Slavery in our own backyard

Many Australians misunderstand, or are unaware of, the prevalence and effects of human trafficking and slavery within Australia, according to the University of Technology Sydney's Anti-Slavery…

Many Australians misunderstand, or are unaware of, the prevalence and effects of human trafficking and slavery within Australia, according to the University of Technology Sydney's Anti-Slavery Project.

In an attempt to increase awareness, the Anti-Slavery Project has launched a campaign to focus community attention on the issue, which despite popular beliefs - extends beyond the sex industry.

"Many people would be surprised that the use of forced labour is becoming a serious problem in Australia, with consequences for local industries, workers and unions," says project director, associate professor Jennifer Burn

"A recent report from the United States State Department shows that labour trafficking outside of the sex industry and internal trafficking are not well understood here in Australia."

As part of the campaign, the Anti-Slavery Project is launching a new website which will help people become familiar with all forms of trafficking and which focuses on crucial issues such as how to recognise signs of trafficking, who to contact for help, issues surrounding forced marriage, internal trafficking and compensation for trafficked people.

"We know from our work in the community and with trafficked people that trafficking and slavery are poorly understood," she said.

"Unless we open our eyes and know the signs, we may miss opportunities to identify trafficked people and make sure they get help and advice ... Employees and employers need more information about how to spot the signs that a person may have been trafficked and who to call to get help. We're not just talking about migrant workers, trafficking can happen within Australia."

The launch of the website is the first step in a broader campaign which will target key groups, such as unions and migrant resource centres, as well as the wider community.

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