Human trafficking is like modern day slavery.  On any given day in 2016, 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery, with 24.9 million people in forced labour and 15.4 million people in forced marriage. (Global Estimates of Modern Slavery)

Around the world men, women and children are trafficked for a wide range of exploitative purposes including forced labour, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and child soldiers. While trafficking for sexual exploitation is more commonly reported among women and girls, it can also happen to boys.

In 2018 alone, Anti-Slavery Australia helped over 123 people who had been trafficked to or from Australia, or had faced slavery-like conditions while in Australia, including forced marriage, servitude and forced labour.  But this is just the tip of the iceberg. A recent report by the Australian Institute of Criminology estimates that only one in five victims are detected.

Australia is primarily a destination country for people trafficked from Asia, particularly Thailand, Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia.

People are vulnerable to trafficking for a number of reasons, including lack of education and employment opportunities, discrimination and social isolation, and lack of protection by adults or social systems.

Human Trafficking is different to People Smuggling:

  • Human trafficking is the physical movement of people across and within borders through deceptive means, force or coercion.  The people who commit human trafficking offences are motivated by the continuing exploitation of their victims once they reach their destination country.
  • People Smuggling is the organised, illegal movement of people across borders, usually on a payment for service basis.

How does human trafficking and slavery still happen in Australia?

Signs a person may be a victim of trafficking

Signs that a person may be in, or at risk of, a forced marriage