The Albanese Government has reaffirmed its commitment to combat modern slavery at the commencement of the Modern Slavery Conference today in Melbourne.
Assistant Minister for Social Services and the Prevention of Family Violence, Justine Elliot, said the value of people with lived experiences of modern slavery sharing their experiences and insights cannot be overemphasised.
“Today’s conference is a significant step towards victims and survivors contributing to and leading the discussions that improve our understanding of modern slavery and shape our policies,” Assistant Minister Elliot said.
The Government has demonstrated its commitment through its Tackling Modern Slavery Package, beginning with the introduction of an Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
“One of the most important parts of our response is ensuring people who have experienced modern slavery can access appropriate support.”
“That is why we were proud to commit an additional $24.3 million in funding for the Support for Trafficked People Program in our 2023-24 Budget,” Assistant Minister Elliot said.
The additional funding will be used to increase the minimum length of time for support under the program to 90 days, ensure equitable financial support for visa holders, and provide follow-ups after a client has left the program.
A pilot program will also be commencing in 2024 for up to 18 months to allow direct referrals to the program from community providers.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the Government is committed to strengthening our response to modern slavery at home and abroad by strengthening the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) and establishing a Federal Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
“Modern slavery - including human trafficking, forced labour, and forced marriage - are abhorrent crimes that have no place in our society”, Mr Dreyfus said.
“The Albanese Government has committed $8 million over four years and $2 million per year ongoing to establish an Anti-Slavery Commissioner, delivering on a key election commitment to tackle modern slavery.
“The new Commissioner will play a whole-of-government role in implementing that package in full, including the introduction of penalties for non-compliance with the Modern Slavery Act.”
During the conference, the Australian Red Cross and University of South Australia launched Hidden Survivors, Intergenerational Trauma: Supporting the Dependents of Human Trafficking and Forced Marriage in Australia.
The report examines the complex support needs of survivors with dependent children, and how dependents are often overlooked when they are not considered victims themselves.
‘It is imperative that adequate protection and support is provided for children in our modern slavery responses,” Assistant Minister Elliot said.
More information on the Support for Trafficked People Program is available on the Department of Social Services website.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au