On the 10th anniversary of the introduction of key modern slavery offences in the Criminal Code the Albanese Government is announcing $2.7million in further grants funding for organisations to prevent these heinous crimes and support victims.
In 2013 the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Act 2013 inserted new offences of forced marriage and harbouring a victim, and the standalone offences of forced labour and organ trafficking into the Criminal Code. The legislation also amended existing definitions to capture a range of slavery-like exploitative practices and forms of coercion.
These new laws made clear there is no place for modern slavery in Australia and empowered law enforcement agencies to disrupt, investigate and prosecute these crimes. A decade on from becoming a criminal offence in Australia forced marriage is now the most reported slavery-like offence to the Australian Federal Police.
The Albanese Government is committed to ensuring Australia’s laws are ready to respond to the changing ways criminals exploit and harm vulnerable people.
In December 2022 I announced a targeted review of the modern slavery offences in the Criminal Code to ensure our criminal justice frameworks are effective and up to date. These consultations close today, following three months of productive engagement with the public.
The opening of Round Two of the Modern Slavery Grants Program today will provide $2.7 million in funding over two years so non-government organisations can work with Government to tackle modern slavery in Australia.
Round Two closes on 4 April 2023 and I encourage eligible organisations to submit a funding application via the Government’s Community Grants Hub.
We’ve seen significant success from Round one of this grants program. Today the Australian Red Cross launched the Work Right Hub, an online platform that empowers migrants, frontline responders and service providers to identify indicators of labour exploitation and directs them to different avenues of support, supported through the Modern Slavery Grants Program.
Help is available for any person experiencing, or at risk of, human trafficking or other forms of modern slavery. The Australian Federal Police can keep you safe, provide advice and refer you to support services. Call 131 237 (131 AFP). If you have immediate concerns for your safety or the safety of someone else, call Triple 0 (000). If you are in, or at risk of, forced marriage, visit My Blue Sky for support and free, confidential legal advice.