So far, so good, but more can be done to end sex slavery

Kathleen Maltzahn; 18/6/09

Improved visa rules are a major step to ending the trafficking of women. Sixty years ago, the international community took an absolute stand against an ancient practice when in Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it said: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.” This week, the Federal Government has taken us one step closer towards realising this aim. For many people, the word slave conjures up images of the trans-Atlantic slave trade of old. Recently, however, it became clear that Australia had a slave trade of its own, hidden where few of us go – in brothels. Women brought to Australia were being forced to become prostitutes, to perform specific sexual acts, including sex without a condom. These women were told they were on contract, and had to repay debts of up to $50,000