Cake shop owners charged with slavery and human trafficking

·2-min read

Cake shop owners in western Sydney have been charged following a slavery and human trafficking investigation after allegedly exploiting one of their workers.

The Australian Federal Police arrested a 59-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman on Thursday, after Human Trafficking investigators executed search warrants at a home in Denham Court and business premises in Bonnyrigg, Liverpool and Campbelltown.

An investigation began in March 2018 after the Fair Work Ombudsman reported an allegation of mistreatment of a worker at the business to the Australian Federal Police.

Screenshot of a woman wearing a green pull over with dark hair and black pants escorted by two police officers. Source: AFP
The investigation at the Western Sydney cake business began in 2018. Source: AFP

Victim 'reliant' on man and woman

The man is said to have allegedly been verbally abusive and to have threatened the victim with deportation for not working hard enough. He also allegedly monitored the victim’s phone calls to family offshore and took away their passport.

According to a media statement released by police, the victim was allegedly isolated from the community, was not given a steady wage or paid accordingly for the hours worked, and was reliant on the man and woman for food.

AFP seized three mobile phones and multiple financial documents when they arrested the man and woman after forming Operation Silverbolt to investigate the victim's life and employment in Australia.

A man wearing a dark coloured shirt and grey pants being escorted out of a brick home with two police officers. Source: AFP
The 59-year-old man is accused of allegedly being verbally abusive to the alleged victim and threatening her with deportation. Source: AFP

The woman from Denham Court was charged with conducting a business involving the servitude of another person, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment.

The man from Denham Court was also charged with conducting a business involving the servitude of another person, which carries a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison.

Abusers face full extend of the law

AFP Detective Inspector Jeremy Staunton, said human trafficking and slavery-like offences occur in Australia and the AFP takes allegations of human trafficking and exploitation very seriously.

“For the financial year 2020/2021, the AFP received 224 reports of human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like offences. So far this financial year the AFP has received 111 reports,” Detective Inspector Staunton said.

“Human Trafficking investigators work tirelessly to help victims struggling through atrocious slavery-like situations and to ensure they are removed from harmful situations, and their abusers face the full extent of the law in Australia.”

The man and woman received bail under strict conditions and are scheduled to appear in Downing Centre Local Court on December 14, 2021.

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