Slavery and Exploitation: Human Trafficking in Australia

Australian Workers Film Guide


This short video produced by the ACTU reveals the disturbing issue of forced labour, slavery and human trafficking in Australia.  With over 20 million victims of forced labour worldwide, Australian authorities, unions and charities are working to address the issue at a national level. A spokesperson for the Australian Federal Police reports that over 199 victims of human trafficking have been identified since 2003, with 160 of them brought here for sex work and the remainder as forced labour. The Australian Federal Police is working with the Australian Red Cross to identify and support victims of human trafficking under the Victim Support Program.  

Beyond sex work, victims are found in a range of low skill jobs in factories, restaurants, construction, agriculture and domestic work. Examples of cases are profiled, including a domestic slave brought to Australia under a sham marriage and a restaurant worker working 70 hours per week, 7 days a week without pay on weekends.

Representatives of the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Red Cross and the ACTU, highlight the challenge presented by human trafficking.  As a migrant nation, ACTU President Ged Kearney underscores the importance of union support for all workers, including foreign workers. The video concludes with a section on identifying those at risk, such as workers in low skill industries, illegal workers, recent permanent migrants and those suffering from physical and verbal abuse. The narrated video consists of interviews, basic reenactments and a wide range of visual overlay of workers in low skilled industries.

Special Notes/Achievements

Produced by the ACTU in association with the Attorney-General’s Department.

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 10 mins 45 secs

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