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

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


Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice

Archive

Syndication

Tagcloud

refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament climate change elections women social security Indigenous Australians Australian Bureau of Statistics Employment Sport illicit drugs people trafficking taxation Medicare welfare reform Australian Defence Force higher education welfare policy United Nations Asia income management Middle East criminal law disability Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget health financing gambling school education forced labour aid statistics Australian Electoral Commission WADA emissions trading Australia in the Asian Century steroids detention Private health insurance OECD ASADA labour force transport Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Industrial Relations people smuggling dental health National Disability Insurance Scheme Australian Crime Commission slavery Senate election results Papua New Guinea Australian Public Service International Women's Day corruption Afghanistan Fair Work Act child protection debt federal election 2013 parliamentary procedure poker machines ALP New Zealand Newstart Parenting Payment 43rd Parliament political parties Census constitution High Court skilled migration voting Federal Court terrorist groups Higher Education Loan Program HECS youth paid parental leave Aviation environment foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability customs doping health crime health risks multiculturalism aged care Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery sea farers Special Rapporteur leadership United Kingdom UK Parliament Electoral reform politics banking firearms public policy violence against women domestic violence mental health China ADRV terrorism social media pensions welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation governance public service reform Carbon Pricing Mechanism carbon tax mining military history employer employee fishing by-election European Union same sex relationships international relations coal seam gas family assistance planning United Nations Security Council Australian economy food vocational education and training Drugs Indonesia children codes of conduct terrorist financing money laundering Productivity asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Population Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity science research and development Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse federal state relations World Trade Organization Australia accountability housing affordability bulk billing water renewable energy children's health health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation expertise Senators and Members climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry food labelling Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets health reform Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government local government consumer laws PISA royal commission US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition Parliamentary remuneration health system Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol energy forced marriage rural and regional Northern Territory Emergency Response ministries social citizenship human rights citizenship Defence 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 workers Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery transparency corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation standards NATO 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 public health 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 Southeast Asia Israel Palestine regional unemployment 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 trade unions same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders public housing prime ministers election timetable sitting days First speech defence budget submarines Somalia GDP forestry world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission regulation limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders animal health live exports welfare systems infant mortality middle class welfare 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 nutrition anti-dumping Constitutional reform referendum Rent Assistance competition policy pharmaceutical benefits scheme obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant homelessness regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Youth Allowance Members suspension citizen engagement policymaking federal election 2010 workplace health and safety Trafficking in Persons Report marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament alcohol Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act entitlements political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing Hung Parliament political education social inclusion Social Inclusion Board maritime early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin Iran sanctions Norway hospitals

Show all
Show less
Back to top