Support for Trafficked People Program
The Support for Trafficked People Program (Support Program) is a key component of Australia’s anti-human trafficking strategy and the National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-25 [624 Kb]. The Support Program provides assistance to all victims of human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices, including forced marriage and forced labour, who meet the eligibility criteria.
The Support Program is administered by the Department of Social Services and delivered nationally by the Australian Red Cross. It aims to assist clients in meeting their safety, security, health and well-being needs, and to develop options for life after they leave the Support Program. Case managers are responsible for supporting clients to access services to meet their individual needs, which may include:
- case management support
- suitable accommodation that meets the Australian Federal Police’s (AFP) security and safety requirements
- medical treatment (through Medicare and the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme, or as approved);
- referral to legal and migration advice
- skills development training, including English-language classes and vocational guidance
- social support.
The Australian Government is making changes to the Support Program to better meet the needs of victim-survivors and their dependents located in Australia.
From 1 July 2023, the Support Program will have five streams, and, if victim-survivors wish, they will be able to receive up to 12 months Post Exit Check-in.
The streams are:
- Intensive Support Stream (combines the previous Assessment and Intensive Support Stream and Extended Intensive Support Stream into a single stream) – intensive support for 90 days to all trafficked people referred by the AFP, irrespective of whether they are willing or able to assist with the investigation or prosecution of a human trafficking or slavery-related offence. Clients have access to the following support as needed:
- case management support
- secure accommodation
- a living allowance
- an amount for the purchase of essentials
- additional assistance for dependents, if required
- access to health care
- access to interpreters
- access to legal services and migration advice
- assistance with accessing income support and a Health Care Card, if eligible.
- Forced Marriage Support Stream – intensive support for up to 200 days for clients who are in, or at risk of, a forced marriage. This includes access to the 90 days of support already provided on the 'Intensive Support Steam'. Clients are referred by the AFP, however since February 2018 have been able to access additional support without being required to contribute to a criminal investigation or prosecution against their alleged perpetrators. This stream recognises forced marriage victims are often young women and girls with complex needs who are highly vulnerable and therefore require support, but may be reluctant to take part in an investigation or prosecution against those who are forcing them to marry – usually parents, relatives or community members. The Forced Marriage Support Stream was established as an ongoing part of the Support Program in 2019, following recommendations made in the evaluation of the Forced Marriage Stream Trial. Clients of this stream have access to the same support as provided through the Justice Support Stream. To access the Forced Marriage Stream, the potential client must be:
- assessed by the Australian Federal Police as being reasonably suspected to be in, or at risk, of a forced marriage;
- an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or have a visa status that allows them to stay in Australia;
- not willing to participate in a criminal investigation; and
- agree to receive further support.
- Justice Support Stream – support until the investigation and prosecution of a human trafficking or slavery-related matter is finalised. Clients have access to the following support as needed and if eligible:
- assistance with accessing income support and a Health Care Card, if eligible
- assistance with securing longer-term accommodation
- assistance to purchase essential furniture and household items
- access to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
- access to legal services and interpreters
- assistance to obtain employment and training if desired
- links to social support.
- Temporary Trial Support Stream – intensive support for trafficked people who return to Australia to give evidence pertaining to a human trafficking prosecution. Recipients are entitled to short-term accommodation and a weekly living and food allowance.
- Transition Stream – there is a 20 working day period available for clients leaving the Support Program.
Post Exit Check-in – following exit from the Support Program, victim-survivors who remain in Australia may choose to engage with a caseworker at 3, 6, and 12 months to receive additional assistance in maintaining positive outcomes of recovery. This assistance will be based on each individual’s needs, and may include providing information, assisting with identification of other appropriate services, supporting referrals if the client demonstrates being unable to independently access support, and providing minimal financial support for emergency items if required.
The Australian Government has a comprehensive Human Trafficking Visa Framework (Visa Framework) comprised of the Bridging F Visa and the Referred Stay Visa. These visas enable foreign nationals who do not already hold a valid visa and are suspected victims of human trafficking or slavery to remain lawfully in Australia. Like Australian citizens and other valid visa holders who are suspected trafficked people, they are then able to access support through the Support Program.
Is someone you know at risk?
If someone is at immediate risk or requires urgent assistance call 000.
If you or someone you know is in, or at risk of human trafficking or slavery, you can contact the Australian Federal Police (AFP) on 131 237 (131AFP) or go to the AFP website at www.afp.gov.au for help. The AFP can keep you safe, provide advice and refer you to other services for support, such as accommodation, financial support, counselling and legal and immigration advice.
If you are in, or at risk of, a forced marriage, contact My Blue Sky, Australia's national forced marriage service. Call (02) 9514 8115, text +61 481 070 844, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.mybluesky.org.au for support and free, confidential legal advice.
Non-English speakers – to access an interpreter in your own language call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450. The Translating and Interpreting Service does not provide counselling; however, an interpreter can help you communicate with other services. All calls are free and confidential.