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A former Wangaratta Restaurant owner has escaped a jail term despite being convicted of a slavery offence. The offence related to a woman employed by the owner being paid no wages over a 14 month period. When she asked for her wages the women’s employer also threatened that he would withdraw his sponsorship for her to become a permanent resident. In 2016 the Fair Work Ombudsman ordered that the woman and her husband who also worked in the restaurant be paid $50,800. At the time of sentencing the woman and her husband were still owed $25,000.

In the County court of Victoria the former restaurant owner pleaded guilty to the charge of causing another person to enter or remain in forced labour, a crime which carries a maximum sentence of nine years. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail but that penalty was suspended for three years under a recognisance release order. Read more…

Anti-trafficking groups, including ACRATH, are appalled that perpetrators of the crime of forced labour are treated with such leniency when those they have offended carry scars that can last for a life time.

A 2019 report from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime entitled Fragmented But Far-Reaching: the UN system’s mandate and response to organized crime reports:

“Human trafficking and smuggling, the most frequently addressed crime type, arise across a number of agendas, including peace and security, protection of refugees, women’s empowerment, children’s rights, global health and human rights…Yet, in reality, human trafficking remains one of the most under-litigated crimes at national level.”


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