Australia safeguards slaves through labour crackdown Australia safeguards slaves through labour crackdown

Australia safeguards slaves through labour crackdown
01 Mar 2019

The Australian Border Force (ABF) has spoken out to reassure victims of human trafficking and enslavement that they are not the target of a recent crackdown on those who exploit them.

ABF commander, James Copeman, says: “More than anything, this operation is about protecting people,” to the Thomas Reuters Foundation. “If we do have someone who is a victim of human trafficking, we have some appropriate provisions in place to ensure their safety and security.” Dozens of people faced detention or deportation after the raids.

Operation Battenrun seeks some of the 15,000 modern slaves The Global Slavery Index estimates are in Australia today. Exploited people are most commonly found in the sex industry, in construction and agriculture. Domestic servants feature highly too. Victims are primarily from India, China, Malaysia and Vietnam, the commander said.

Australia has taken a bolder stand on immigration ahead of its May election holding some asylum seekers crossing by sea in offshore detention centres. However, Copeman draws a distinction between people being trafficked and those wanting cash work. “The main target of our operation are those taking advantage of others and exploiting them,” he says.

Operation Battenrun found links to organised crime plus overlaps with drugs and tobacco trafficking, tax crime and money laundering. It detained 48 individuals and deported 22 more. Companies received 33 illegal worker warning notices. Victims found during these raids were given visas that allowed them temporary legal worker status and help with personal safety. Other victims may continue to approach authorities for the same help and support.

In late 2018 the world’s second anti-slavery law was introduced in Australia. Large companies must now disclose their approach to modern-day slavery.

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The Australian Border Force (ABF) has spoken out to reassure victims of human trafficking and enslavement that they are not the target of a recent crackdown on those who exploit them.

ABF commander, James Copeman, says: “More than anything, this operation is about protecting people,” to the Thomas Reuters Foundation. “If we do have someone who is a victim of human trafficking, we have some appropriate provisions in place to ensure their safety and security.” Dozens of people faced detention or deportation after the raids.

Operation Battenrun seeks some of the 15,000 modern slaves The Global Slavery Index estimates are in Australia today. Exploited people are most commonly found in the sex industry, in construction and agriculture. Domestic servants feature highly too. Victims are primarily from India, China, Malaysia and Vietnam, the commander said.

Australia has taken a bolder stand on immigration ahead of its May election holding some asylum seekers crossing by sea in offshore detention centres. However, Copeman draws a distinction between people being trafficked and those wanting cash work. “The main target of our operation are those taking advantage of others and exploiting them,” he says.

Operation Battenrun found links to organised crime plus overlaps with drugs and tobacco trafficking, tax crime and money laundering. It detained 48 individuals and deported 22 more. Companies received 33 illegal worker warning notices. Victims found during these raids were given visas that allowed them temporary legal worker status and help with personal safety. Other victims may continue to approach authorities for the same help and support.

In late 2018 the world’s second anti-slavery law was introduced in Australia. Large companies must now disclose their approach to modern-day slavery.

OTHER STORIES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

P & N Bank rolls out Ramco's HCM System across Western Australia

A third of temporary migrant workers in Australia suffer wage theft

Australia tries to simplify single touch payroll for small firms

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