SA Government urged to launch inquiry into slavery

Sr Noelene Simmons SM and the Flinders University report (Supplied)

Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) and Flinders University have published a report that calls on the South Australian Government to launch an inquiry into slavery in the state. Source: Catholic Religious Australia.

Published on Friday, Slavery and Slavery-like practices in South Australia: A Report documents the experiences of 18 people who were trafficked in South Australia between 2004 and 2019. The joint research project confirms that slavery is occurring in SA and that there are important key factors that could inform an inquiry.

Flinders University’s Associate Professor Marinella Marmo said that very little research into human trafficking in SA had been done in the past but that this study found that many slavery and slavery-like cases in SA have included forced marriage, forced labour, domestic labour and sexual servitude in intimate partner violence (IPV) linked to bridal visas. All the forced marriage and IPV sexual servitude victims were women and the majority of forced marriages took place in metropolitan Adelaide. The report revealed that forced labour was mainly found in the hospitality, cleaning and horticulture/agriculture industries and that these victims were mostly male.

Earlier this year, the Australian Institute of Criminology estimated that for every official victim, there are "conservatively" four undetected cases of human trafficking. This would suggest that there are a further 72 people undetected in the state.

ACRATH president Sr Noelene Simmons SM said she was not surprised at the low number of people identified as victims of slavery in this report.

“Victims are reluctant to approach the authorities for all sorts of reasons,” she said. “These slavery practices are a gross violation of human rights as they reduce a person to a commodity to be exploited and this must be stopped,” Sr Noelene said.

ACRATH SA co-ordinator, Sr Meredith Evans RSM, said, “The joint research project is an important step in shining a light on what federal MPs have described as a crime hidden in plain sight.”

ACRATH urged the South Australian Government to set up an inquiry into slavery in the state.

In addition to the launching of an inquiry, the report also recommends state-wide programs be introduced to raise the awareness of slavery and slavery-like practices and to educate the wider community about the consequences of breaching related Commonwealth criminal legislation.


SA Government must set up inquiry into slavery (Catholic Religious Australia) 

Slavery and Slavery-like Practices in South Australia: a Report (Flinders University)

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