CANBERRA, Dec 3 (NNN-AAP) – The Australian government has announced additional funding, to support victims of modern-day slavery, according to a government release, today.
Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, Assistant Minister, Justine Elliot, and Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, today committed 14.3 million Australian dollars (9.5 million U.S. dollars) for programmes to support people in forced marriages.
Of the funding, 12.1 million AUD (8.06 million USD) will go towards the new Forced Marriage Specialist Support Programme, which will provide access to support, including counselling and emergency accommodation, for people who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, forced marriage.
The remaining 2.2 million AUD (1.4 million USD) will fund the existing Speak Now project, which aims to prevent forced marriage through education and awareness raising.
According to the federal government, there are currently about 1,900 victims 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,” Rishworth said in a joint statement with Elliot and Dreyfus.
“The Forced Marriage Specialist Support Programme builds on the Government’s existing Support for Trafficked People Programme, to ensure assistance is available to all victims of human trafficking, forced marriage, slavery, and forced labour.”
Dreyfus, who, along with Elliot will host state and territory ministers for the 15th National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery later this month, on Thursday, introduced legislation to parliament to establish a Federal Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
Under the proposed legislation, the appointed commissioner would work across the government and private industry, to ensure compliance with the Modern Slavery Act.
The government allocated eight million AUD (5.3 million USD) in May’s federal budget for 2023-24, to fund the new commissioner role for its first four years.– NNN-AAP