Thursday, May 22, 2003

Ruddock wants evidence on sex slavery

CANBERRA — Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock today challenged people who claimed sex slave trafficking from Asia into Australia was rampant to provide evidence. He said the government was committed to closing down trafficking operations but it first needed proof they existed.

Opposition political parties have demanded an independent judicial inquiry into women and girls being brought into Australia for the sex trade. "The question I have — in relation to those people who have been running these arguments and putting them very strongly and suggesting that there is a very large trafficking industry into Australia is to produce the evidence," Mr Ruddock told Sky News Australia. "The evidence that we have is yes there are women working in the sex industry. "When they're questioned and when they're asked about possible trafficking or slavery there is no evidence to suggest that that has occurred."

Mr Ruddock said the Immigration Department took claims of slavery seriously and worked with other departments including the Australia Federal Police to investigate claims. But he said there was little evidence of people being brought into Australia to work as sex slaves.

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Created: January 9, 2004
Last modified: January 15, 2004
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