Trafficking in Persons - Special Rapporteur's Report to the Human Rights Council

Parliament house flag post

Trafficking in Persons - Special Rapporteur's Report to the Human Rights Council

Posted 27/06/2012 by Dianne Heriot

The logo for the United Nations Human Rights CouncilOn 22 June, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons especially women and children, presented her annual  report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, including reports of her missions to Thailand and Australia.

Special Rapporteurs are independent experts appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (formerly the Commission on Human Rights) to investigate, monitor, and advise on human rights violations world wide or in specific countries. In carrying out her mandate, the Special Rapporteur undertakes country visits to study the situation on the ground and, develop recommendations to better prevent or combat trafficking and protect the human rights of its victims; and takes action on complaints about human rights violations against trafficked persons.

The Special Rapporteur's visit to Australia was the subject of an earlier flagpost.

In presenting her report to the Council, Ms Ezeilo observed  that "the human rights of trafficked persons are not yet the primary consideration when it comes to effective criminal justice responses to trafficking, and urged world governments to adopt clear and enforceable laws based on respect for the rights of trafficked persons."

In addition to providing an overview of her activities during the year, Ms Ezeilo's report contains a thematic analysis of  a human rights based approach to the administration of criminal justice in trafficking in persons, and an overview of recent trends in States' practices, including emerging good practices. Key issues raised include the criminalisation of trafficking, the provision of protection and support for victim witnesses, and seizure of criminal assets.  Speaking to the Council, Ms Ezeilo noted that while most States had criminalised trafficking in persons, this was not an end in itself.  Even jurisdictions with sophisticated criminal justice systems and anti-trafficking strategies must look to improve their performance. 

Ms. Ezeilo's recommendations to States included the enactment and enforcement of comprehensive legislation criminalising trafficking and related acts, the proper identification of victims, improved provision of protection and support to victims, and making traffickers pay for their victims’ restitution and compensation. (Of note in this regard, the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Bill 2012 currently before the Australian Parliament, inter alia, amends the Crimes Act 1914 to increase the availability of reparation orders to victims of Commonwealth offences, including people trafficking.  The legislation is discussed in earlier flagposts -- here and here.)

In reporting on her missions, Ms Ezeilo noted that Thailand faced significant challenges as a source, transit and destination country.  While Thailand's commitment to combating trafficking was evident, a number of concerns were identified, particularly the fact that "the root causes of trafficking in persons in Thailand, such as restrictive immigration policies and the abuse of the human rights of migrants, had not been sufficiently addressed."

Commenting on Australia, Ms Ezeilo found that, as a destination country, Australia had shown strong leadership and committed considerable resources to combating trafficking in persons.  She noted the strength of partnerships between government and civil society, and Australia's active engagement in the region through aid and diplomatic initiatives.  However, assistance to trafficked persons was conditional upon their cooperation with authorities and their contribution to the criminal justice response; and acccess to housing, medical and orther support services was also not readily available to those whose immigration status had not been regularized.  Ms Ezeilo also noted that a "very strong focus, particularly by the media, on trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, resulted in lesser attention on other forms of trafficking in persons." She makes a number of recommendations to the Australian Government on improvements to data collection and to  victim support, on increased training for officials, and on addressing the root causes of trafficking, including by creating more opportunities for safe migration.

The Australian Government's Statement in response welcomes the report, and undertakes to carefully consider each of the recommendations, noting that legislation to strengthen laws criminalising trafficking are before the Parliament.  The only new commitment in the statement is the Government's intention to begin work shortly on a revised national plan of action.

Finally, it may be of interest to note that Ms Ezeilo's report (pages 6 to 7)  offers some commentary relevant to the current Australian debate on irregular maritime arrivals and the prosecution of foreign crew:
"Many of those arrested are reportedly deceptively recruited to work on ships as crew members, with false promises about the nature of their work and their payment, and thus may themselves have been victims of trafficking. Nonetheless, they are treated as accused criminals and placed in jail. This is a clear violation of the international legal obligation of Australia to correctly identify victims of trafficking, to provide immediate protection and support to such persons, and to ensure that they are not criminalized for offences relating to the fact of their having been trafficked. The situation is particularly worrying given that some crew members of vessels involved in migrant smuggling appear to be children."

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament elections climate change social security women welfare reform taxation Indigenous Australians Australian Defence Force welfare policy school education higher education private health insurance health financing emissions trading Middle East Senate Australian Bureau of Statistics employment people trafficking Asia statistics illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 Australian Public Service income management Medicare disability Sport United Nations environment industrial relations constitution transport politics criminal law Afghanistan health forced labour food public service reform aged care aid Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget Carbon Pricing Mechanism dental health international relations governance regulation Fair Work Act voting law enforcement electoral reform OECD Australian Electoral Commission WADA child protection poker machines Australia in the Asian Century steroids National Disability Insurance Scheme detention 43rd Parliament slavery health system leadership domestic violence parliamentary procedure International Women's Day accountability defence capability multiculturalism ASADA Australian Federal Police labour force people smuggling debt New Zealand Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme political parties coal seam gas Human rights crime China Census election results UK Parliament Papua New Guinea banking corruption pensions children's health Aviation federal election 2013 foreign debt gross debt net debt Senators and Members ALP Newstart Parenting Payment Youth Allowance sea farers United Kingdom energy food labelling Australian economy violence against women vocational education and training military history by-election High Court skilled migration mental health Federal Court terrorist groups science social media Higher Education Loan Program HECS federal state relations youth paid parental leave same sex relationships customs planning doping health risks Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy ANZUS Rural and regional trade unions Foreign affairs election timetable Indigenous royal commission Productivity firearms public policy Population ADRV terrorism transparency research and development welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing European Union family assistance United Nations Security Council forestry Drugs welfare systems Indonesia children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report social inclusion paternalism environmental law US presidential election nutrition ODA Defence sitting days electoral divisions Southeast Asia administrative law universities TAFE Ireland citizenship asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity standards NATO Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse World Trade Organization Australia public health housing affordability bulk billing water health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation public housing expertise climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets animal health middle class welfare constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution Turkey Syria marine pollution sustainability prisons police deaths in custody electoral margins electoral pendulum electoral redistribution redistribution NSW redistribution WA redistribution ACT electoral boundaries ASEAN Sustainable Development Goals Double dissolution Senators safety vehicles MYEFO Pathology tertiary education Taiwan Xi Ma meeting family violence government financial advisers financial planners Financial System Inquiry Murray Inquiry China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders prime ministers First speech defence budget submarines workers Somalia GDP world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office work-life balance

Show all
Show less
Back to top