A Melbourne couple face modern-day slavery offences after they allegedly kept a female victim in “domestic servitude” in their home in the city’s south.
The crimes are believed to have taken place between January and October 2022, with police starting an investigation after a healthcare worker notified authorities of their concern over the woman, believing she showed “indicators of human trafficking”.
After receiving the tip-off, police gained search warrants for the Point Cook residence and later charged the man, 44, with three offences, which included the possession of a slave, exercising control over a slave and using coercion and threats to perpetuate servitude in another person. The woman, 29, was also charged with the same three offences.
Melbourne couple face court over modern-day slavery offences
The couple are expected to attend Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday and police will present a case against them, alleging they exercised coercive control over the other woman. This includes subjecting her to physical assaults and controlling her movements.
If convicted, both individuals face a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment.
Police say this incident highlights the importance of educating first responders and healthcare professionals on how to recognise the signs 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,” AFP Detective Superintendent Simone Butcher 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.”
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).
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