New cases of forced marriage ‘tip of the iceberg’

During the 2019/20 financial year, the Australian Federal Police received 92 reports of forced marriage (ACRATH)

Forced marriage and slavery-like practices are going unchecked because social services and other frontline workers do not recognise this form of human trafficking, according to a Flinders University criminologist. Source: The Southern Cross.

Flinders University partnered with ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) to deliver an education and interactive training webinar session.

Hosted by the Adelaide Archdiocese, the webinar was delivered by ACRATH forced marriage expert Liz Payne and human trafficking expert Marilynn Ross from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for about 40 participants from a range of professions.

During the 2019/20 financial year, the AFP received 92 reports of forced marriage, with just over half of these relating to victims under the age of 18 years.

Flinders University criminology lecturer Associate Professor Marinella Marmo said she feared the few cases identified are just the tip of the iceberg.

“Federal figures indicate forced marriage is the highest form of slavery-like practice in comparison to any other form of human trafficking for the past few years in South Australia,” she said.

Between 2009 and 2019, 13 cases of forced marriage were referred by the AFP to the Support for Trafficked People Program, or one per 243,000 inhabitants in SA, which Associate Professor Marmo said reinforced the need for action.

“In general, forced marriage victims fail to be identified in rural and metropolitan South Australia because we lack a proper awareness-raising and education approach, distinct from family violence and child protection.

“If the SA Government does not take clear action at state level, there will be more cases unidentified or misidentified.”


Forced marriages going unchecked (By Jenny Brinkworth, The Southern Cross

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