Day 9 – What is Modern Slavery and Why are Women more Vulnerable?

The facts are that women and girls account for 99% of victims trafficked in the commercial sex industry, 84% of victims of forced marriage and 58% in other sectors. (ILO)

Modern slavery, often known as ‘human trafficking’, is the buying, selling and forced transportation and transfer of human beings. It is illegally taking ownership of another person through violence, coercion, fraud or abduction. Modern slavery can take many forms, through forced domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, forced labour, child labour, forced marriage and many others.


Modern slavery is a violation of Human Rights and it is taking place all over the world, including here in Australia. It is an illegal act and is punishable in Australia under the Criminal Act Code (1995). According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), modern day slavery is the second largest criminal activity in the world and is a $150 billion a year industry.


Modern Slavery is a Gendered Issue

Although modern slavery affects everyone, it is a gendered issue. Women and girls are more vulnerable to this crime.

1 in 130 women and girls globally is living in modern slavery.

71% of victims being women and girls.

There are more women and girls in slavery than there are people in Australia.

Read More here.

There are many issues worldwide that make women more vulnerable to slavery. But most of all, modern slavery is a result of power imbalances. And gender inequality remains a major power imbalance around the globe. This stems from cultural practises, laws and historical gender roles.


Reasons Women and Girls are Vulnerable

Here are a few reasons that Women and Girls are more Vulnerable to Modern Slavery:

  1. In most countries, fewer girls attend school than boys, leading them to a greater risk of poverty.
  2. In many cases, women and girls are forced to seek work outside of the home due to poverty, gender-based violence and discrimination.
  3. Many women and girls lack the education and skills needed to find safe employment.
  4. They also are not given autonomy of what work they will do, where they will work and how they will travel to work.  This makes them especially vulnerable to exploitation of recruiters and employers who they believe will help them find work.
  5. Worldwide laws continue to put women at risk. Many countries have laws that prevent women from owning land and assets, travelling freely or working without their husband’s permission.
  6. In some parts of the world, many young girls are victims of forced marriages in exchange of payment to their family or a cancellation of debt.
  7. It is also important to add that women in marginalised groups such as people with disability, LGBTQIA+, or an ethnic minority experience even further risk of modern slavery.

Read More here.



Vulnerable Women In Australia

  • 1 in 5 Australian women have experienced sexual violence.
  • Australian women are most likely to experience physical and sexual violence in their home, at the hands of a male current or ex-partner.
  • Of women who had children in their care when they experienced violence from an ex‑partner, 68 per cent reported that the children had seen or heard the violence.

Read More here



What is the Solution?

“A systemic and integrated approach to tackling the exploitation of women and girls in modern slavery requires cross-sector, cross-regional and international partnerships.” Plan International UK

To ensure The Freedom Hub is a part of the answer our CEO sits on various State, National, Pacific Regional and also International Modern Slavery Committees. We cannot solve this problem alone.

“I believe we could easily be the first country in the world to have no slavery, but we should also be doing all we can as a nation to help our poorer neighbouring nations. We have the wealth and resources to do a lot more. We have played a major part in exploiting these nations in the past and present, so we should be helping now in their time of need.” Sally Irwin CEO

As a part of this series we are asking all women to share these blogs to raise awareness. Awareness changes culture. Awareness raises funding for NGO’s working in this space. So on Facebook and LinkedIn please just hit ‘share’. On IG share this to your story. Let’s bring this crime to light.

If you need help or know of someone in this situation call us: 1800Freehub (1800 3733482)

Written by: Krissy Kime (Freedom Hub volunteer)

Tomorrow’s Article: A Survivor Story – Freedom from Sex Trafficking



Thank you for your part in this 16 Days of Freedom. We cannot change culture without awareness so please share this post with your friends. Here are the hashtags for your share:   #16daysoffreedom  #freedomhuborg  #womensrights #orangetheworld

16 Days of Freedom is a campaign we are running to align with the UN awareness campaign United Nations’  UNiTE campaign on gender violence against women and girls. We are focussing on women and girls in modern slavery. For 16 days we will post a story to highlight the issue. To end the 16days we invite you to come to or host a Festive High Tea for Human Rights. These will be held on or near the UN Human Rights Day on the 10th December.

You can join our High Tea for Human Rights in Waterloo, Sydney, by clicking HERE.

You can Host your own High Tea by registering HERE and we will send you an information and fact sheet to read or distribute to your guests.

THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ OUR BLOG   (Please review it or share it with others).

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Other blogs you might enjoy:

Three things I learnt about Modern Slavery

Inside the Mind of a Slavery Survivor

How Covid Isolation Impacted our Survivors