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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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