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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 them. Traffickers move their victims through the use of force, threats, coercion or deception. Coercion can occur through threats of physical or non-physical harm (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, but between 2003 and 30 June 2015, the AFP received 588 referrals for human trafficking and slavery-related offences. In 2014-15, the AFP received 119 new referrals. This is an increase from 70 new referrals in 2013-14, indicating the growing number of trafficking cases that are being identified as part of the developing Australian response.

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, or for domestic servitude in private homes.

Trafficking and exploitation can be hard to identify. Most cases have involved subtle forms of control such as debt, fear of violence, or psychological intimidation.

How is human trafficking different from people smuggling?

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.

More information

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