Female slaves fear retribution and the authorities

WOMEN trapped in servitude or slavery fear retribution from their husbands and don't trust authority, a study by the Australian Institute of Criminology has found.

The small study, which included interviews with eight women who had escaped situations of domestic and sexual "servitude", revealed several barriers for women suffering such abuse.

Last year, the Federal Parliament passed laws creating criminal offences for forced marriage, with such research helping to shine a light on the practice in Australia.

AIC research analyst Samantha Lyneham said the report detailed the barriers faced by migrant women in Australia in a slavery situation, and the strategies used to escape abusive relationships.

It found the chief barriers to escape were fear of retribution from their husbands, a lack of trust in police, not identifying their experience as violent or exploitative, and being unaware of services.

The research also found language barriers, social isolation and a limited understanding of Australia's culture and laws were other key barriers.

It found informal contact with social services could help such women get out of servitude and domestic slavery.