After being forced to marry her cousin at the age of 14 and moving to Australia from Egypt, Eman Sharobeem lived through years of physical abuse.
It wasn't until her husband died after 14 years of marriage that Sharobeem could finally break free from the relationship. She became a social worker, advocating for victims in situations similar to her own. She kept her own abuse a secret for fear of dishonouring the family.
''I was trying to hush hush the violence at home and never tried to call the police,'' she said. ''He was my first cousin and I was ashamed I was living a double life. I was afraid, and I wanted to protect our two children and the family name.''
To her distress, since becoming an advocate, she has discovered that many other women in Sydney share her experience.
As the service manager for the Immigrant Women's Health Service in Fairfield, she has seen an increase in the number of young women seeking her help to escape forced marriages.
Despite the passage of a generation since her own marriage began, little has changed.
''As a young girl you are supposed to listen to and obey your parents fully and this is the common practice here as well,'' she said. ''I still see victims of forced marriage and it is actually increasing. The number of cases reported to us this year only is 15.''
An inquiry into human trafficking released this week by the Community Relations Commission of NSW identified forced marriages and exploitation of women in the sex industry.
It found that women, including international students, had been exploited and held as slaves in their own homes and in businesses.
Among those who have come to Sharobeem for help was one woman, reduced to a sex slave and kept locked in a garage, after being brought to Australia on a spouse visa.
''She was imprisoned in her husband's Merrylands dwelling for sex slavery and servitude at home. She was never treated as a wife, always lived in the garage with her two children and locked in. She was not allowed to go anywhere, including church,'' Sharobeem said.
The woman finally broke free after making contact with a neighbour who bought a universal remote control and released her from the garage.
''The minute she reported to the police, her husband reported her to immigration and cancelled her visa,'' Sharobeem said. ''So she had nothing. We couldn't find a shelter for her because she was illegal.''
During the 30-day period between the cancellation of her spouse visa and her application for asylum, the woman had no income and no place to stay.
''We housed her in friends' accommodation and found her bits and pieces from here and there until we could find her somewhere to live,'' Sharobeem said.
Girls that come to her for help to escape a forced marriage may be put on an airport watch list to prevent them from being sent overseas.
Sharobeem has also intervened to help prevent an honour killing in Sydney. The father of a girl who had sex outside marriage was persuaded to show his daughter mercy by allowing her to marry.
As an advocate for these women, Sharobeem says her work is driven by passion.
''It's not a job for me. I'm driven to see the life of young girls turned around,'' she says.
Community Relations Commission chairman Stepan Kerkyasharian said men and children were are also found to be victims of human trafficking.
Students employed to work as nannies have been denied their wages and freedom. Men brought to Australia on 457 visas have been forced to work long hours in unskilled jobs for below-award salaries. The report found that some men who migrated to Australia as sporting boxers have been enslaved and forced into illegal - and often unsafe - fights.
Kerkyasharian said he was disturbed that some victims were too afraid to show themselves or to speak directly to people conducting the inquiry. In some cases, the victim was too scared to be in the same room as the interviewer. An intermediary was used to pass messages from one room to another.
Kerkyasharian said human trafficking and other forms of exploitation were under-reported and ''demeaning and a brutal violation of human dignity''.
The inquiry found that NSW was ill-equipped to help them. Victims struggled to find any government services for assistance.
As a result, the commission has recommended the creation of a human trafficking advisory council to develop a more co-ordinated response to the problem. It found government agencies had little awareness of how to deal with victims of human trafficking and slavery in NSW.
''With few exceptions, including police forces, state and territory governments are not presently involved in any national processes for determining policy and strategies,'' it said.
''The inquiry recommends that NSW adopt a human-rights-based approach focused on information, education and prevention, as well as enforcement.''
Sharobeem is also lobbying the government to establish a hotline for women threatened with a forced marriage.
To make it more complicated, the inquiry found there was not always a clear distinction between arranged and forced marriages, because family pressure was often involved.
But in the case of forced marriage, one thing was clear from the report. ''These situations might be better characterised as forced labour or domestic servitude,'' she says.