As we share about human trafficking awareness this month, we realise that many people may have false ideas or misconceptions about what human trafficking looks like. Are you aware? Do you have knowledge and understanding that human trafficking is a global epidemic? That it involves Australians? That it is happening, and exists in Australia?
Newspaper headings like this one are alarming. In the past, slavery and trafficking offenses occurring in Australia were under-reported, but the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has recently seen a rise in referrals. According to the AFP, Australia is primarily a destination country for people trafficked from Asia, particularly Thailand, Korea, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
While the exact figures vary, research has shown Australian men to be among the largest contributors to sex tourism in southeast Asia, with cities such as Pattaya becoming a “home away from home” for an increasing number of Australian retirees.
More recently, reports show that Australian perpetrators have been involved in grooming children online, usually in developing countries. The Australian Federal Police is concerned that the demand for child abuse material is increasing across the country.
“Of particular concern is the rise in instances and rates of child exploitation overseas with Australians involved” (spokesman for the AFP).
"In 2014 we received about 4,500 referrals of child exploitation material and in 2015 it was 11,000." (Justine Saunders AFP Assistant Commissioner)
And even more recently it was reported that, “The United States, Britain and Australia are the main consumers of child sex abuse streamed over webcam" (spokesperson from the AFP).
ZOE raises awareness in Australia through the media, influential voices, speaking engagements, internet communities, and encouraging student involvement.
Our education in schools is reaching more and more young people. We are in the process of writing another trafficking curriculum unit for Australian schools this year. In September 2019, ZOE Australia released their updated version of the Year 10 Geographies of Human Wellbeing curriculum. This is a free unit of work that examines the different concepts and measures of human wellbeing, and the causes of global differences in these measures between countries.
Please email Sharon at info@goZOE.org.au if your school would like a copy.
Do you know what to do?
If you do suspect a case of trafficking or you see someone in danger please use the following country numbers to notify authorities:
Australian Federal Police on 131AFP (131237) or email AOCC-Client-Liaison@afp.gov.au
ZOE International, has been combating human trafficking since 2002. ZOE is active in Thailand, Japan, Australia, Mexico, and the United States.