Boosting support for victim-survivors of human trafficking
Minister for Social Services
The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP
The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Assistant Minister for Social Services
Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence
The Hon Justine Elliot MP
Joint media release
The Albanese Labor Government is continuing our commitment to combatting modern slavery with a funding boost of $24.3 million for the Support for Trafficked People Program (STPP).
The commitment aims to help better meet the needs of eligible victim-survivors of human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices, including forced marriage and forced labour.
According to research by the Australian Institute of Criminology and Walk Free Foundation, human trafficking and modern slavery affects an estimated 1900 people in Australia, with approximately four out of every five victim-survivors currently going undetected.
Most clients who are supported by the STPP are women and girls. This financial year more than 180 people have received support, with a 36 per cent increase in referrals.
The $24.3 million in additional funding, to be provided over four years, will be used to increase the minimum length of time for support up to 90 days (from the current 45), provide additional support for victim-survivors with children, ensure financial support for visa holders not able to access Centrelink payments and provide follow-up after a client has left the program at three, six and 12 months.
The money will also fund a pilot commencing in 2024 for up to 18 months to allow direct referrals to the program from community providers, without engagement with the Australian Federal Police, as is currently the case.
Providing this alternative pathway is designed to increase engagement with the program, as some victim-survivors are initially reluctant to engage with law enforcement and miss out on the support they need.
Today’s announcement, funded as part of the 2023-24 Federal Budget, follows $8 million made available last week to establish a Commonwealth Anti-Slavery Commissioner, delivering on a key Albanese Labor Government election commitment.
Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth said supporting victim-survivors of trafficking was vital to helping in healing and recovery – one of the pillars of the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-32.
“Ending gender-based violence is an absolute priority for our Government,” Minister Rishworth said.
“Our focus is the recovery for victim-survivors, and helping them achieve the best possible outcomes, including physical and mental health, education, employment, and social connection.
“We want to empower victim-survivors of human trafficking and ensure their futures are not defined by their past trauma.” Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the additional funding directly responded to calls from the sector.
“Today’s announcement of funding for an additional referral pathway for the STPP has long been called for by modern slavery stakeholders. Improving access to this vital program will ensure victim-survivors get the support they need when they are at their most vulnerable point,” Attorney-General Dreyfus said.
“Together with the Anti-Slavery Commissioner, these two announcements show the Albanese Labor Government’s deep commitment to tackling the scourge of modern slavery in our country and abroad.”
Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Justine Elliot, said the new referral pathway will trial alternative options for access to the STPP as victim-survivors who may have been reluctant to engage with law enforcement will now have increased access to tailored, timely, and appropriate support.
“We know recovery from any form of violence is ongoing and long-term. It is important that the referral system has the ability to provide victim-survivors with essential services and support to meet their needs,” Assistant Minister Elliot said.
“We remain committed to doing all we can to keep people safe and ensure a future where everyone in Australia can live free from fear and violence.”
The STPP is administered by the Department of Social Services and delivered nationally by the Australian Red Cross.
Vicki Mau, Director of Australian Programs at the Australian Red Cross said the increased funding and introduction of an additional referral pathway would enable more people to access humanitarian support and assistance, allow victim-survivors to be supported for longer and reduce barriers for those seeking help through the additional referral pathway.
“Based on Red Cross’s experience working directly with people impacted by trafficking and slavery, we know that some victim-survivors are reluctant to engage with law enforcement about the issues they are facing, and are currently not able to access this crucial support,” Ms Mau said.
“The additional referral pathway will help overcome this, allowing us to reach these victim-survivors who may be at risk.
“We know that access to support empowers victim-survivors to rebuild their lives.”
More information on the Support for Trafficked People Program is available on the Department of Social Services website.
If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, family, domestic, or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit the 1800RESPECT website.
If you are concerned about your behaviour or use of violence, you can contact the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.