Human Trafficking and Slavery

Human trafficking, slavery, and slavery-like practices such as forced labour and forced marriage are serious crimes and a fundamental violation of human rights. The Australian Government is committed to combating these crimes and providing trafficked people with appropriate support.

There is little reliable data about the nature and extent of human trafficking. However, there is a general consensus that human trafficking and slavery affects almost every country in the world; whether as a source, transit, or destination country – or as a combination of these. The nature of human trafficking varies from region to region. The most visible form of trafficking involves the sexual exploitation of women and children. However, around the world men, women, and children are trafficked for a wide range of purposes. This may include forced labour (in industries such as hospitality, construction, forestry, mining or agriculture), domestic and sweatshop labour, forced marriage, illicit adoption, street begging, forced recruitment into militia or the armed forces, and the harvesting of body organs.

A comprehensive whole-of-government strategy to combat these crimes commenced in 2004. Australia’s strategy is guided by the National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-25 [784 KB PDF] (National Action Plan), which was launched in 2020. Since the establishment of Australia’s strategy to combat human trafficking and slavery, the Government has provided more than $150 million to support a range of domestic, regional, and international initiatives. More information on Australia’s anti-human trafficking strategy, including the National Action Plan, is available at the Department of Home Affairs website.

The Department of Social Services supports the anti-human trafficking strategy through the Support for Trafficked People Program. Guidelines for NGOs working with trafficked people [624 KB PDF] are available to assist any organisations working in this area.

The Department has also developed the Family Safety Pack with information about Australia’s laws regarding domestic and family violence, sexual assault, forced and early marriage, family violence and partner visas, dowry abuse, female genital mutilation, LGBTIQ relationships, trafficking and slavery and women’s right to be safe.

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