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Human trafficking and slavery in Australia

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Presentation on theme: "Human trafficking and slavery in Australia"— Presentation transcript:

1 Human trafficking and slavery in Australia

2 Trafficking in Australia Australia is a destination country  Australia has not been reported as a source or transit country.

3 Media headlines - Scope of TIP  Indian Stonemasons Exploited to Build Temple, 2001  $50 a Week for Ribs and Rump, say Soweto Chefs, 2002  Deadly Slave Labour Racket Exposed, 2002  Abused and Exploited and Now to Be Deported, 2005  Hung Jury in Sex Slave Trial, 2005  Slaves Dig Desert Ditches, 2006  Filipinos Treated as Slave Labour, 2006  Foreign Nurses Exploited, Union Says, 2005  Bride Forced to Work in Brothel, Court Told, 2006  Teens Bashed and Used as Slaves, 2006  Man Charged with Slavery Offences, 2006  Sex Slavery: First Woman Jailed  Trio Arrested on Sexual Servitude Charges, 2006  Firm Treated Migrant Worker Like Slave, 2007  Diplomat Servant’s Unpaid Slavery, 2007

4 Difficulties in collecting reliable data Estimates of the extent of trafficking in Australia  Thailand and to a lesser extent China, South Korea and Malaysia have been cited as origin countries of illegal sex workers in Australia, based on statistics of those detected by immigration authorities and submissions to a parliamentary inquiry into trafficking of women for sexual servitude (PJCACC 2004). Quoted in AIC, Human trafficking to Australia: a research challenge, June 2007.  2007 US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report lists Australia as: a destination country for women from East Asia and Eastern Europe trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Men and women from India, China and South Korea were reported to be subject to slavery, debt bondage and involuntary servitude  There are different estimates about the extent of trafficking in Australia (Project Respect study: up to 1000 women under ‘contract’ at any given time); Australian Government’s Action Plan to Eradicate Trafficking in Persons states the number is less than 100; Scarlet Alliance 300 consenting to contract debt arrangements each year).

5 Official human trafficking statistics, Australia, January 2004 - September 2006 Criminal Investigations117 Victim Support Program66(a) Arrests23 Prosecutions14 Convictions4(b) a: 44 have been issued with criminal justice stay visas b: at the time of writing three convictions were under appeal Source: Australian Federal Police From Australian Institute of Criminology, Human trafficking to Australia: a research challenge, June 2007

6 The tip of the iceberg Australia’s response to trafficking has focused on the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation. Less is known about the trafficking of persons into other industries.

7 Root causes of trafficking to Australia In Countries of Origin  Poverty  Lack of access to education  Lack of access to employment  Lack of a chance to make a life  Responsibility for family members  Excitement at the prospect of travel  Family circumstances – violence, assault, male- dominated family structures. In Australia Market Demand

8 Australian Government Action Plan To Eradicate Trafficking in Persons Prevention :community awareness, regional initiatives Investigation:establishment of new AFP taskforce, Prosecution:review of legislation & reform of criminal law Protection :victim support & rehabilitation, trafficking visa framework Ratification of Trafficking Protocol

9 Prevention and awareness campaigns  Government community awareness campaign focused on the sex industry  NGO campaigns by Anti- Slavery Project and Project Respect  Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans  Stop the Traffik campaign – jointly promoted by World Vision and the Salvation Army Pro m o t i n g a H u m a n R i g h t s R e s p o n s e t o S l a v e r y a n d T r a f f i c k i n g i n A u s t r a l i a

10 Australian Government Support for Victims of People Trafficking Program 1.2 What are the planned outcomes of the Support for Victims of People Trafficking Program? The Program aims to achieve the following outcomes: Clients are able to meet their basic needs for food, accommodation, health and welfare while they assist the Australian Federal Police (AFP) with investigations into people trafficking and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) with respect to the prosecution of such offences; and Clients will also be given the opportunity to learn new skills to support their reintegration upon returning home.

11 Australian Government Support for Victims of Trafficking & Slavery Who is eligible for the programme? Phase 1 During this initial 30 day period victims have access to the following support:  secure accommodation within close proximity to the AFP (approx. $140-$160 per night);  a living allowance ($160 per fortnight);  a weekly food allowance ($160 per fortnight);  a one-off amount of $300 for the purchase of essentials such as clothing and toiletries;  access to the Medicare Benefits Scheme and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme; and  access to legal services (a maximum of 3 appointments per client throughout both phases of support). From Trafficking Fact Sheet – Office for Women

12 Australian Government Support for Victims of Trafficking & Slavery Phase 2  Victims who are willing and able to assist with the investigation or prosecution of a suspected trafficker have access to Phase 2 of the programme, which will provide them with the following support services:  Special Benefit (up to $420.90 per fortnight) and Rent Assistance (up to $103.20 per fortnight) paid through Centrelink (if they meet eligibility requirements);  Assistance with securing longer term accommodation (provision for bond and 2 weeks rent in advance refundable to the Commonwealth);  a one-off amount of up to $700 for the purchase of essential furniture for long term accommodation;  Access to the Medicare Benefits Scheme and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme;  Access to legal services (a maximum of 3 appointments per client throughout both phases of support); and  Access to employment and training if desired and to social support (including English language training, budgeting skills, counselling etc) and vocational guidance where appropriate. From Trafficking Fact Sheet – Office for Women

13 What happens at the end of the Government victim support programme?  Clients of the programme who are deemed to be at risk of harm if they return to their home country as a result of their contribution to an investigation or the prosecution of trafficking offenders, may be eligible for temporary or permanent Witness Protection (Trafficking) Visas.  The Australian Government is also implementing a reintegration assistance project for victims of trafficking who return to their countries of origin. From Trafficking Fact Sheet – Office for Women

14 Evaluation of the government victim support program  The program is limited to those who can assist the police and prosecutors  If a woman can’t help the police or prosecutors, no government help is offered This policy causes immense hardship and suffering as religious groups and other ngos work hard to fill the gaps providing accommodation, food, medical assistance, dental help, psychological treatment, translation and interpreting services, immigration and other legal services. No visa certainty No clear assistance if returned to country of origin. Anti-Slavery Project University of Technology, Sydney

15 THE AUSTRALIAN RESPONSE TO TRAFFICKING  Criminal Code Amendment (Slavery and Sexual Servitude) Act 1999  Created the offences of sexual servitude, slavery and deceptive recruiting;  No offence of trafficking;  Narrower in scope than the UN Trafficking Protocol;  First charges under the Act laid in 2003;  Difficulty in obtaining successful prosecutions.

16 Slavery is unlawful: right of ownership over a person including where such a right results from a debt contract OFFENCES – Criminal Code 1995 A person who intentionally :  Possesses a slave or exercises the right of ownership over a slave;  Engages in slave trading  Enters into any commercial transaction involving a slave  Exercises control or direction or provides finances for slave trading or commercial transactions 25 years imprisonment (If a person is reckless as to whether a transaction involves a slave and enters into a commercial transaction, directs, finances or exercises control over slave trading :17 years imprisonment ).

17 CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT (TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS OFFENCES) ACT 2005  Positive step forward.  New offences: Offence of Trafficking in Persons (s 271.2)  Covers trafficking into and out of Australia in circumstances where the person is forced, threatened or deceived about the fact the person’s stay in Australia will involve exploitation, debt bondage or confiscation of travel documents  Covers where a person was deceived about the nature or conditions of sexual services  Covers circumstances where the trafficker is reckless as to whether the person will be exploited either by the first person or another Offence of Trafficking in children (s71.4) Offence of Domestic Trafficking (s271.5)

18 CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT (TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS OFFENCES) ACT 2005  Offence of Debt Bondage (s271.8)  Debt bondage is defined as: the status or condition that arises from a pledge by (a) a person of his or her personal services or (b) of the services of another person under his or her control as security for a debt owed, or claimed to be owed, (including any debt incurred, or claimed to be incurred, after the pledge is given), by that person if: (ba) the debt owed or claimed to be owed is manifestly excessive; or (c) the reasonable value of those services is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt or purported debt; or (d) the length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined.  The offence of debt bondage in section 271.8 states a person commits an offence if a person engages in conduct that causes and intends to cause another person to enter into debt bondage.

19 Prosecution : ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ In Australia, the jury makes the decision about whether a person is guilty or innocent. The jury must decide whether a person is guilty ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. The Attorney-General’s department believes that there is a general lack of knowledge in the community about the reality of trafficking and slavery.

20 Director of Public Prosecutions  14 prosecutions have been undertaken resulting in 4 convictions – 3 of which are under appeal.  Commonwealth conducts prosecutions – generally they prosecute white-collar crime, customs and drug importation offences.  Little experience prosecuting personal crimes such as sexual assault, rape. They are building up their experience in the prosecution of trafficking and slavery.

21 A NEW VISA FRAMEWORK FOR VICTIMS/WITNESSES  Introduced January 2004  The new visa framework is a four-step package, comprising: 1. Bridging Visa F (BVF) 2. Criminal Justice Stay Visa 3. Witness protection (trafficking) (temporary) 4. Witness protection (trafficking) (permanent)

22 EVALUATING THE VISA FRAMEWORK  Problems:  Few witness protection (trafficking) visas have been granted;  Discretionary process;  Even if trafficking victims are willing to provide evidence they will not be granted visas unless the AFP believes the evidence is useful to an investigation or prosecution;  Witness protection visas only available after criminal justice visas have expired;  Victim support contingent on capacity to provide useful evidence;

23 Reform the current visa regime to protect ALL victims of trafficking and slavery Weaknesses:  Focuses on victim’s usefulness as a witness  Requires close cooperation with a prosecution or investigation  Not self-petitioning, at the discretion of the Minister  Lengthy and expensive process A victim-centered visa regime will prevent the re- trafficking and re-enslavement of victims regardless of their cooperation with authorities

24 Particular issues for Australia  Labour shortages in rural and regional Australia  Is there a need for a new type of visa to meet demand for seasonal horticultural and other work?  Should Australia invest in a guest worker scheme?  Is there a greater risk of trafficking, slavery and exploitation  Australia has not ratified the Migrant Workers Convention.

25 Implement a coordinated human rights approach to combat trafficking and slavery Human Rights Human rights are about recognising and respecting the inherent value and dignity of people. Human rights principles are contained in internationally agreed human rights standards. The Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission is responsible for promoting and protecting those human rights in Australia.

26 Law enforcement The Australian government has pursued a migration and law enforcement approach to address trafficking and slavery focused on criminal justice and immigration control rather than a holistic human rights and social justice approach.

27 Human rights The National Action Plan should be re- evaluated and new strategies developed in conjunction with human rights organisations.


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