10 February 2014


In a bid to reach people forced to work in Australia for little or no wages, Australia’s Catholic anti-trafficking organisation ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) has expanded its major labour trafficking awareness campaign through ethnic media outlets.

The RAP campaign, involves Community Service Announcements (CSAs) in six languages. The announcements, supported by the Australian Federal Police and using text by Anti-Slavery Australia (part funded by the Australian Government), have been aired on some Victorian radio stations, but will now be rolled out nationally on radio as well as in ethnic newspapers.

ACRATH’s national projects coordinator Christine Carolan said the campaign offered support to people who speak little English and who are being forced to work for little or no pay and who are vulnerable to exploitation. She said the announcements alerted people to employment situations that are against the law in Australia and encouraged victims to seek help. The announcements provide a phone number for the Australian Federal Police and also offer people free legal advice from Anti-Slavery Australia.

“We know that there are people in Australia who are working under harsh and unjust conditions, who may have come here thinking they were going to be employed fairly, but who receive little or no pay until they work off what their traffickers call a ‘debt’. For example, a worker trafficked into Australia can be told they owe their trafficker $35,000 or more. Some people are too afraid to say anything for fear of violence against them or their family back home,” Ms Carolan said.

“Forcing someone to work under these circumstances is a crime and the Australian Federal Police would certainly like to hear from anyone who is in this situation. Some people could be forced to work in the sex industry or in the hospitality, construction or agricultural industries. It doesn’t matter what the employment is, they cannot be held against their will or paid illegal rates of pay. We are placing CSAs in ethnic press and on radio stations to try and reach as many people as possible.”

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