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Read the latest News in the fight against human trafficking

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Prostitutes likened to AFL draftees in trial

Posted in April 24th, 2009
by ACRATH

The Age
Kate Hagan
April 24, 2009

A BARRISTER acting for a man accused of bringing five Thai women to Melbourne as sex slaves has compared their plight to an AFL footballer being drafted to another club.

Len Hartnett told a Supreme Court jury yesterday it would need to consider whether the women had been treated as “commodities”, as prosecutors claimed.

“The coach walks into the training room … at the Brisbane ground, the Gabba, and says to a 19-year-old, who was drafted two years ago from Melbourne: ‘Son, next year you won’t be here, you’ll be playing for Fremantle.’ Well, what is he? A commodity? That’s one way of expressing it,” he said. read more..

Herald Sun
Shelley Hadfield
April 23, 2009

A THAI woman who claims to have been caught up in a sex slave scheme sent $32,000 to Thailand while under a contract in Melbourne, a court has heard.

Prosecutor Daniel Gurvich told the Supreme Court earlier this week that five women came to Australia under contracts to service 650 to 750 men to repay a debt for their passage to Melbourne and the opportunity to earn money. read more..

Inside Melbourne’s sex slave trade

Posted in March 12th, 2009
by ACRATH

Prison Planet Forum
Maris Beck
March 12, 2009

THE boss would kick her awake. Every time she opened her eyes, the nightmare began again. There was no escape from the men – their hair, their sweat, their predatory breath. Many were using amphetamines. They hit her. Sometimes one would hold a a gun to her head. But there was no choice, she says. She was owned by the mob.

“I was so scared of them.Even now I am still scared.” Once, the boss took her for a drive into the bush. “She told me ‘a girl like you, I can bury anywhere here.’ If something happened to me . . . nobody would know.”

For seven months, she was locked in a brothel, seeing 15 men a day, in around the clock shifts. As she speaks tears stream down her cheeeks and her breath shudders. More than five years later, the memories still haunt her. “It was like in prison,” she says. read more..

The Courier-Mail
Tristan Swanwick
December 22, 2008

A GOLD Coast hairdresser who forced two Thai women into sexual slavery to pay off debts to violent loan sharks has been jailed for five years.

Keith William Dobie, 48, was the first person in Australia charged with people trafficking under new laws brought in two years ago to clamp down on international sex slavery.

The former hairdresser yesterday pleaded guilty in the Brisbane District Court to two counts of people trafficking, one count of handling proceeds of crime, and four counts of presenting false documents.

Dobie lured the women to Australia to work as prostitutes with promises of easy money and generous working conditions, but turned into an abusive and demanding pimp after they arrived, the court was told. read more..

Sweet slavery

Posted in August 9th, 2008
by ACRATH

The Australian
Kerrie Murphy
August 09, 2008

Chocolate’s dirty and often bloody secrets have been exposed.

WE may be able to scoff chocolate faster than is dignified, but few of us could identify a cocoa bean if we saw one. For all we know about chocolate production, the fantasy world depicted in Roald Dahl’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory could be an accurate portrait.

The dirty little secret of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is that when it was published in 1964, Willy Wonka’s fictional factory workers were Pygmies, whom he paid in cacao beans and housed on the premises to prevent rival chocolate makers from spying. Criticism of the slavery connotations prompted Dahl to change the employees to the knee-high Oompa-Loompas in subsequent editions. However, as far-fetched — and un-PC — as Dahl’s original manuscript may have been, it contained elements of the truth. The dirty big secret of chocolate, food with an image of seductive luxury, is that pint-sized Africans do make it. It’s just that they’re not Pygmies but children, toiling for people nowhere near as benevolent as Wonka. read more..

Madam or slave owner?

Posted in July 17th, 2008
by ACRATH

The Age
Karen Kissane
July 17, 2008

An appeal before the High Court will decide how Australia defines slavery, giving the legal system a platform to deal with cases of exploitation of migrant sex workers.

IT WAS probably one of the more mixed audiences that Australia’s seven High Court judges have had. Up the back sat a quiet Filipino nun in a habit and veil, interested to see what this nation’s highest court made of issues surrounding the people she works with in her homeland: women trafficked for sex. read more..

A question of bondage

Posted in July 15th, 2008
by ACRATH

The Age
Dr Anne Gallagher
July 15, 2008

What does it mean to be a slave in the 21st century? A court case in Australia is seeking to define the legalities of “owning” another human being, writes Anne Gallagher.

THIS week in Canberra, the High Court is considering what it means to be a slave in Australia in the 21st century. While the legal questions before the court are highly technical, the real issue is much more straightforward: under what circumstances will Australian law allow us to say that one person is effectively “owning” or enslaving another?

A portion of Australia’s sex industry is made up of “contract girls”: individuals brought over here from Thailand, Korea, China and other countries to meet Australia’s growing demand for commercial and “exotic” sex. Some are under no illusion about the work they are going to do. Others imagine — or are tricked into believing — that they will be employed as waiters, cleaners or bartenders. read more..

Sex slavery on high

Posted in May 17th, 2008
by ACRATH

The Australian
Elisabeth Wynhausen and Natalie O’Brien
May 17, 2008

THE five women subsequently looped together as the complainants were working in Club 417, a brothel in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy that was raided in 2003.

The women, then aged between 25 and 35, had been recruited in Thailand to work in the sex industry in Australia. In doing so, they incurred a so-called debt of up to $45,000, including $20,000 owed to the recruiters who had sold them to traffickers. This debt had to be worked off, by having sex with up to 900 customers. read more..

Human Trafficking

Posted in April 6th, 2008
by ACRATH

ABC Online: Sunday Nights, First Hour
Producer: Noel Debien, Dan Driscoll
April 6, 2008

Exactly a year ago on Sunday Night our guest was American Award-winning journalist David Batstone, and author of “Not for Sale: the return of the Global Slave Trade”.

Batstone who is also professor of Ethics at the University of San Francisco and the founder and president of Right Reality, an international social venture firm, was keen to encourage Australians to take up the cudgels in this most recent round of a very ancient trade, the ‘Traffic in Souls.’

It’s not just prostitution. Some of you may have heard the concern expressed by Tim Costello this week over the horrors of the Chocolate plantations of West Africa were forced and indentured child labour is still common place, and the big companies who buy the stuff for our consumption, don’t seem to care.

Tonight a year on, David Batstone is back in Australia joined by Sister Pauline Coll of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans, and Jennifer Burn, Director of the University of Technology Sydney Anti-slavery project. read more..

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Brisbane Sister a part of history

Posted in December 16th, 2007
by ACRATH

The Catholic Leader
December 16, 2007

THE reality of human trafficking in Australia has been highlighted by the inclusion of a Brisbane nun on a new international network to deal with the problem.

And in a trafficking-related incident close to home, a north Queensland couple last week were the first in the state to be jailed on slavery charges.

Co-ordinator of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan Working Against Human Trafficking Sr Pauline Coll was among 33 women religious from 26 nations who came together to launch the International Network of Religious Against Trafficking in Persons (INRATIP). read more..

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