Man arrested for servitude offence

A 41-year-old Brisbane man is due to face Brisbane Magistrates Court today on a servitude offence.

In March 2018 the Australian Federal Police (AFP) received a referral from the Fair Work Ombudsman regarding alleged human trafficking offences committed against a 29-year-old victim.

The victim provided a statement to police alleging between November 2015 and March 2017 she was forced to remain employed by the man at his Brisbane business.

Police will allege in court that during this period the victim was subjected to extremely excessive work hours, significant under-remuneration, bullying and harassment, threats of violence and intimidation and psychological abuse.

It will also be alleged the man threatened the victim with blackmail, physical violence and forced debt if she resigned from the business.

In her statement to police, the victim said she was fearful of the 41-year-old man because he had assaulted her on several occasions and previously threatened her with a weapon.

On 15 August 2019 AFP officers executed a search warrant at the man’s Robertson premises and seized a number of electronic items.

The man was arrested and charged with one count of causing a person to enter into or remain in servitude, contrary to section 270.5(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth.). The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years imprisonment.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Tim Puchala said human trafficking investigations could be a lengthy process but investigators remained committed to catching those who prey on others.

“Investigations of this nature are very reliant on the victims coming forward and making their situation known to police,” Det a/Supt Puchala said.

“We commend those who have faced these terrible circumstances for their bravery in coming forward.”

Note to editors:

The disclosure of the identity of the witness is an offence pursuant to section 15YR of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth.).

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