Australia has a significant role to play in ending human trafficking, as Flinders University lecturer in Occupational Therapy Emma George highlighted on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, which was observed on Monday 30 July.
Mrs George points to International Labor Organisation figures that estimate more than 40 million people around the world are victims of modern slavery on any given day – and that Australia is among the destinations where women and girls are likely to be trafficked. In the past decade, more than 750 human trafficking related referrals have been made to Australian authorities.
While the Australian government is committed to fighting human trafficking, and introduced a Modern Slavery Bill in June 2018 – which requires large business to make annual public reports on their actions to address trafficking and exploitation in their work and supply chains – Emma believes more work is needed to combat human trafficking.
Her research into this field has shown that injustices of exploitation that is described as modern day slavery have broad implications for public health.
Mrs George presented a paper on ‘Human Trafficking and Occupational Justice’ at the World Federation of Occupational Therapy Congress in Cape Town during May, and believes evidence presented in her research and insight from service providers can inform stronger policy that supports the prevention of human trafficking and exploitation.
Her research on human trafficking can be followed through twitter @EmKGeorge.