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FACT SHEET #3: WHAT IS HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

This fact sheet contains an overview of human trafficking in Australia.

What is human trafficking?

Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a person for the purpose of exploiting that person through slavery, forced labour, sexual servitude, debt bondage, organ removal or other forms of exploitation. Traffickers move their victims through the use of force, threats, coercion or deception. Coercion can occur through threats of physical or non-physical harm or the abuse or threatened abuse of a legal process (for example threats of deportation).

How many people are trafficked to Australia?

Australia is a destination country for people who have been trafficked. The exact number of people trafficked to Australia each year is not known. The Australian response to trafficking was initially focused on trafficking into the sex industry, but now there is a growing focus on trafficking for labour exploitation outside the commercial sex industry. This may lead to an increase in the number of labour trafficking cases that are identified.

How are trafficked people exploited in Australia?

People can be trafficked to Australia for labour exploitation in a range of different industries including agriculture, hospitality and construction. Victims of labour trafficking may be subjected to domestic servitude in private homes.

So far, the cases of human trafficking identified in Australia often do not resemble the stereotypical images of slavery and trafficking. In most cases it is the more subtly forms of control such as debt, fear of violence, psychological coercion and control that have been central to identifying the existence of human trafficking and exploitation.

How is human trafficking different from people smuggling?

Human trafficking and people smuggling are different. Like trafficking, people smuggling involves the illegal movement of people. Unlike trafficking, people smuggling does not involve moving people for the purpose of exploitation after arriving in the destination country.

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