Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Australia: All-Out Bid to Emancipate Nation's Sex Slaves

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

By Matthew Benns and Heath Gilmore

Government, police and welfare agencies are joining forces in an unprecedented bid to expose and eliminate Australia's sex slave trade.

Representatives of more than 20 organisations and government departments met to discuss ways to combat the trade in human lives at a summit in Canberra two weeks ago. And the Federal Government has committed $20million a year to halt the practice as well as doubling the Australian Federal Police's sex trafficking department's budget.

Authorities have identified more than 100 women as sex slaves, imported into Australia to work as prostitutes, since 2004. They often have their passports seized by brothel owners and must work to pay off so-called "debts", as high as $45,000, for the opportunity to work in Australia.

Brad Halse, who represented the Salvation Army at the summit, said: "It was organised by the Attorney-General's department to brainstorm ways to stop human trafficking and find ways to share knowledge."

The number of sex slaves in Sydney looking for help prompted the Salvation Army to open a 10-bed refuge for illegally trafficked sex workers. It plans to take the pilot scheme nationwide.

The first sentencing under tough new sex slavery laws in NSW is set down for the Downing Centre District Court next week. Convicted Sydney sex-slave trader Trevor McIvor and his Thai-born wife Kanokporn Tanuchit plan to launch a high-profile fight to avoid a possible 25-year jail term.

They are awaiting the outcome of a High Court appeal on a Victorian sex slavery case. The High Court is expected to hand down its judgment on the Victorian Wei Tang case by the end of August in a critical test of the nation's sex slavery laws.

The High Court will be asked whether the sex workers are employed under contract, similar to footballers, or are slaves whose finances and every movement are controlled by masters.

The McIvor case is one of seven trafficking cases before the courts, three of which have gone to appeal.

Read the full article

No comments:

Post a Comment