Melbourne couple face court for modern-day slavery charges
Editor’s note: Arrest vision and audio grabs are available via Hightail
A Melbourne man, 44, and woman, 29, will face the Melbourne Magistrates Court today (25 May, 2023) charged with modern-day slavery offences after allegedly keeping a female victim in domestic servitude at their Point Cook home between January and October 2022.
The AFP started an investigation in October 2022 following a report from a healthcare partner concerned about a woman who was allegedly exhibiting indicators of human trafficking.
As a result of inquiries, the AFP executed search warrants at a Point Cook residence on 27 October, 2022.
On 17 November, 2022, after a comprehensive investigation, the Point Cook man with charged with two offences
- Possessing a slave, contrary to subsection 270.3(1)(a) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
- Using coercion and threats to cause another person to enter into and remain in servitude, contrary to subsection 270.5(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
On 4 April, 2023, the man was served an additional charge of exercising control over a slave, contrary to subsection 270.3(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
Also on 4 April 2023, the woman, 29, was charged by summons with the same three offences.
Police will allege the couple exercised coercive control over the other woman, subjected her to physical assaults and controlled her movements.
If convicted they each face a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment.
AFP Detective Superintendent Simone Butcher said the AFP actively engaged in education for first responders, healthcare professionals, and the community to help them recognise the indicators of human trafficking and slavery.
“Everyone can play a role in stopping human trafficking. We encourage anyone who suspects human trafficking or sees something suspicious to report it,” she said.
“Without the assistance of the community - in this case healthcare professionals - victims may go undetected and we would not be able to provide victims the help and support they need.”
NOTE TO MEDIA:
Victims of human trafficking
If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking or slavery offences, you can make a report to the AFP by calling 131AFP (131 237).
The AFP is the lead Australian investigative agency for all forms of human trafficking and modern slavery. For more information, including the signs a person may be at risk, visit the AFP website: href="https://www.afp.gov.au/what-we-do/crime-types/human-trafficking/human-trafficking-slavery-indicators">Human trafficking & slavery indicators | Australian Federal Police (afp.gov.au
The National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-25 sets the strategic direction of the Australian Government’s work to combat modern slavery over this five year period.
The Support for Trafficked People Program is delivered nationally by the Australian Red Cross and is a key component of Australia’s response to support victims of human trafficking and modern slavery.
Information and confidential advice is also available from the Australian Red Cross (ARC), by calling (03) 9345 1800 or visiting the ARC website.
AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297