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Christian groups welcome new commitment to tackle human trafficking in Asia Pacific region

Christian groups have welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement this week that it will fund a $50 million program to combat human trafficking in the Asia-Pacific region where some 11.7 million people are trapped in forced labour.

Melissa Stewart, World Vision Australia senior advisor on trafficking in persons, said the funding would “build on 10 years of ground-breaking and reputable work in the ASEAN region to strengthen the criminal justice response to this crime”.

Ms Stewart said that while continued funding for regional initiatives was important, she also encouraged the government to appoint an Ambassador for Trafficking in Persons.

“New laws and policies are being developed at the international level as we speak; we must ensure that Australia plays a key role in shaping a slave-free world.”

Meanwhile the Australian Christian Lobby says while it welcomes the announcement, more must be done to combat the sex trafficking problem in Australia.

“Australia continues to be an identified destination for sex trafficking, especially of young girls from Southeast Asia,” said Jim Wallace, managing director of the ACL. “As long as we continue to allow legalised prostitution, we will never see this issue disappear.”

Mr Wallace said the ACL has repeatedly recommended state governments consider the criminalising of the purchase of sex.





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