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New supports for victim-survivors of modern-day slavery in Australia

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Media Release

Minister for Social Services
The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP

Cabinet Secretary
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 reaffirming its commitment to eliminate modern-day slavery with the announcement of $12.1 million in funding over five years for the new Forced Marriage Specialist Support Program, and $2.2 million in further funding to extend the Speak Now project.

The Forced Marriage Specialist Support Program will provide individualised needs-based prevention and early intervention support for those experiencing, or at risk of experiencing forced marriage. It will also provide essential access to counselling and emergency accommodation where required.

The Speak Now project, delivered by Anti-Slavery Australia, aims to prevent forced marriage through education, awareness raising, and collaboration with the sector.

Both initiatives support the priority actions of the First Action Plan under The National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022 32, particularly in supporting children and young people as victim-survivors, and providing timely support to those at-risk of violence in a culturally safe and trauma informed way and align with the National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-25.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth highlighted the importance of specialised services to address all forms of modern slavery in Australia.

“Modern slavery, including forced marriage, is an abhorrent abuse of power, and the Government is doing everything we can to eliminate it from our society,” Minister Rishworth said.

“The Australian Government estimates there are at least 1900 modern slavery victims in Australia.

“To ensure there are a diverse range of supports available, the Forced Marriage Specialist Support Program builds on the Government’s existing Support for Trafficked People Program to ensure assistance is available to all victims of human trafficking, forced marriage, slavery, and forced labour.”

This week the Government will host the 15th National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus and Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Justine Elliot will attend from the Commonwealth.

Assistant Minister Elliot emphasised the Government’s commitment to ending forced marriage in Australia.

“This week’s Roundtable, and the launch of the Forced Marriage Specialist Support Program, demonstrates our Government’s unwavering commitment to combatting modern slavery and forced marriage,” Assistant Minister Elliot said.

“One of the most important parts of our response is ensuring people who are at-risk of, or have experienced modern slavery can access appropriate support through a range of programs.”

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the Government last week introduced legislation to establish a Federal Anti-Slavery Commissioner to help combat the insidious scourge of human trafficking and modern slavery.

“The Anti-Slavery Commissioner Bill 2023 is a landmark reform which delivers on our election commitment to add a new, independent pillar to Australia’s comprehensive response to modern slavery,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“Modern slavery - including human trafficking, forced labour, and forced marriage – are abhorrent crimes that have no place in our society.”

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

If you are concerned about your behaviour or use of violence, you can contact the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491 or visit