Women slaves in Australia silent and isolated, according to Australian Institute of Criminology study

A new study is casting light on why migrant women kept as slaves in Australia often do not seek help or understand they are being exploited. Photo: Getty.

A new study is casting light on why migrant women kept as slaves in Australia often do not seek help or understand they are being exploited.

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has examined the plight of women who have been trafficked and trapped into servitude through the partner migration process.

That includes women who meet Australian partners overseas and later migrate to Australia.

The research included in-depth interviews with eight migrant women who escaped from situations where they found themselves in sexual and domestic servitude or doing forced labour.

The report finds that fear of retribution, lack of trust in authorities and lack of knowledge about support services are among the barriers preventing women in slavery-like situations from seeking help.

Social isolation and limited understanding of Australian culture and laws are also identified as reasons for women remaining in slavery.


Australian mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest has struck a deal to help Pakistan access energy and eradicate slavery. Photo: AAP.


AIC research analyst Samantha Lyneham says servitude cases are commonly identified as domestic violence, and authorities and social service providers must increase their awareness.

“The research intends to create a better understanding of the type of exploitation that these women experience,” she said.

“They can seek appropriate help and authorities can identify their cases appropriately and perpetrators can then be prosecuted using trafficking and slavery legislation.”

Ms Lyneham says language barriers were a huge issue for the women involved in the study.

“Most of them could barely communicate in English and, therefore, experienced greater social isolation and an inability to ask for help when they needed it,” she said.

“They often don’t identify their experience as being violent or exploitative and unfortunately they didn’t experience an effective experience when they sought help in the first instance.”



An estimated 30 million people worldwide are living in modern-day slavery, according to the inaugural Global Slavery Index. Photo: AFP.


The research notes that often informal contact with service providers gives women a way out of exploitative situations.

It is hoped the findings will inform government policy and help social service providers heed the warning signs.

The report was prepared as part of an AIC trafficking study in partnership with the Federal Government Interdepartmental Committee on Human Trafficking and Slavery.


Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/21259068/women-slaves-in-australia-silent-and-isolated-study/