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Australian Institute of Criminology releases research report into labour trafficking

by Hilary Kincaid 9. November 2010 13:49

The Australian Institute of Criminology has released a report, number 108 in its research and public policy series, assessing the known or likely incidence of trafficking in persons.

Since July 2007, the Institute has been conducting research into the trafficking of persons in the Asia–Pacific region in order to contribute to the evidence base supporting efforts to combat human trafficking. This report examines what is known about labour trafficking, based on incidences of reported crimes, but also by drawing on information about unreported crime.

The report illuminates the difficulties in detecting labour trafficking, particularly in circumstances that may not provide obvious external indicators of exploitation. It also sets out some suggested policy and legislation changes to help combat trafficking:

As noted in the research, vulnerability to exploitation may not result from a single factor; it can reflect multiple individual characteristics, a situation or a relationship. As such, the detection of labour trafficking remains a complex task, which needs to be supported by the development of operational tools that aid identification, training in the use of these tools and standard operating procedures for processes of cross-referrals between relevant agencies. In the Australian context, many front-line agencies, including state and territory police and in some jurisdictions, labour inspectors and unions, operate primarily within a state or territory regulatory framework. It is vital to ensure that these agencies have a basic awareness of the relevance of the federal anti-trafficking response to their daily work.

A full copy of the report is available from the official AIC site.

Taking action against human trafficking is part of LexisNexis' global corporate social responsibility initiatives. LexisNexis is committed to combating human trafficking by offering direct financial support and legal and technical advice to organisations working in the field to eradicate the illegal trade wherever it exists. For more information, please visit our corporate site.

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CDPP speech on the challenges of prosecuting human trafficking in Australia

by Hilary Kincaid 11. October 2010 11:20

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Craigie SC, has delivered a speech regarding the challenges of prosecuting human trafficking to the 15th conference of the International Association of Prosecutors in The Hague.

In the speech, the Director sets out Australia's obligations under international treaties and conventions in relation to the prosecution of human trafficking, sexual servitude and debt bondage.

The speech includes a case study of the prosecution, conviction and sentencing of Wei Tang, the first person to be convicted of sexual slavery in Australia. (See R v Wei Tang (2008) 237 CLR 1; 249 ALR 200; [2008] HCA 39). The speech reveals some of the practical difficulties of prosecuting cases of this nature, including:

  • the illegal and clandestine nature of the activity;
  • bridging cultural and linguistic barriers to trust between prosecuting authorities and victims;
  • not uncommonly, a related lack of co-operation of victims and witnesses with government authorities;
  • sometimes a quality of ambivalence or ambiguity in the nature of relationships between trafficker, trafficker client and victim; and
  • the shame and stigma felt by victims and attaching to prostitution and other aspects of human trafficking.

Taking action against human trafficking is part of LexisNexis' global corporate social responsibility initiatives. LexisNexis is committed to combating human trafficking by offering direct financial support and legal and technical advice to organisations working in the field to eradicate the illegal trade wherever it exists. For more information, please visit our corporate site.

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