Evaluating Australia's Response to all forms of Trafficking: Towards Rights-centered Reform

Law Book Company
Publication Type:
Journal Article
The Australian Law Journal, 2010, 84 (10), pp. 712 - 730
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The 2009 US Trafficking in Persons Report predicted that the global financial crisis would increase the supply and demand for all forms of human trafficking, including trafficking for labour exploitation. 2 While Australia's initial response to trafficking focused on trafficking for sexual exploitation, there is now a growing focus on trafficking for labour exploitation outside the sex industry. 3 A decade after the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (Trafficking Protocol) 4 was adopted by the United Nations, is an opportune moment to assess how well Australian laws address the complex phenomena of human trafficking. The question this article focuses upon is do anti-trafficking laws fully reflect Australia's international obligations to prohibit all forms of trafficking and can Australia improve the ability of trafficked people to access remedies within and beyond the criminal justice system? This article assesses the trafficking and slavery offences in the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (Criminal Code) against Australia's international obligations. After observing that the Criminal Code does not contain specific offences of forced labour or forced marriage, the authors propose a review of Australia's anti-trafficking laws. The review should consider how to improve the protection of therights of trafficked people, including the opportunity to seek compensation. The authors conclude by observing that trafficking for labour exploitation exists at the extreme end of a continuum of exploitation
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