Wed, June 17, 2009
World > Asia-Pacific

Sex slaves to receive more support in Australia

2009-06-17 05:22:12 GMT2009-06-17 13:22:12 (Beijing Time)  xinhuanet

CANBERRA, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Under the changes announced by the Australian federal government on Wednesday, sex slaves and other victims of people trafficking will receive 45 days access toa specially designed support program, regardless of whether they help authorities.

Those who are willing to help police will be granted a bridging visa to enable them to get 90 days of support and assistance.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the changes, announced at the National Roundtable on People Trafficking in Canberra, were designed to "provide victims and their immediate family members with greater certainty about their immigration status".

A further 20 days of transitional support will also be available for victims to consider future options, including seeking legal advice and applying for a visa.

The government will also abolish temporary visas for victims under witness protection and speed up their permanent visa process.

Eligible family members will also be able to apply for visas to support victims in witness protection.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick said it was welcome relief for victims, who were often burdened with an uncertain visa status as well as the trauma they had suffered.

Advocate group Project Respect revealed up to 1,000 women were brought to Australia each year to work in the sex industry.

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