Friday, 15 February 2019
Media release

New research calculates extent of human trafficking and slavery in Australia

For the first time, new research has calculated the extent of human trafficking and slavery in Australia.

The report, prepared by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) in partnership with the Walk Free Foundation, revealed there were between 1,300 and 1,900 victims from 2015-16 to 2016-17.

The Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Senator the Hon. Linda Reynolds, who carried the Modern Slavery Bill through the Senate, said the findings from the Estimating the dark figure of human trafficking and slavery victimisation in Australia report will enable better targeted responses to these crimes, and improve identification and support for victims.

"The exploitation of vulnerable people is a lucrative business. Slavery alone generates more than $190 billion annually," Assistant Minister Reynolds said.

"The personal, human cost to lives which have been devastated by human trafficking and slavery is immeasurable. These are serious, exploitative practices and grave violations of human rights that have no place anywhere in today's world.

"Internationally there has been a significant effort to better recognise the nature and scale of modern slavery. This report helps government, researchers and the general public to quantify and understand the human trafficking and slavery scourge affecting communities around Australia."

The AIC report uses the statistical method of multiple systems estimation (MSE) to estimate the hidden number of human trafficking and slavery victims in Australia.

Australia is just the sixth country in the world to produce an estimate of modern slavery victimisation using this method.

"The Australian Government recognises this is a global problem, and is continuing to show firm action on abolishing human trafficking and slavery within our communities," Assistant Minister Reynolds said.

"In a historic step, the Modern Slavery Act 2018 came into force on 1 January 2019, which sets a clear standard for action.

"Importantly, it underscores Australia's commitment to being a regional leader in countering modern slavery, and a determined partner in effective and enduring efforts to counter modern slavery in all its forms."

To read the Estimating the dark figure of human trafficking and slavery victimisation in Australia report visit: https://aic.gov.au/publications/sb/sb16