Chapter 4 Australia’s response to people
Australia has adopted a coordinated approach to tackling people
trafficking that includes both whole-of-government strategies and joint
government and non-government activities. This chapter describes Australia’s
response to people trafficking, both internationally and within Australia, by
the Australian Government and by non-government organisations.
Australian Government response
Anti-People trafficking strategy
The Australian Government submitted that it has had a strategy in place
to target people trafficking (including slavery and slavery-like practices)
since 2003. The Anti-People Trafficking Strategy (the strategy) targets all
forms of people trafficking, including for sexual and labour exploitation, and
has four main components:
n detection and
n prosecution; and
n victim support and
A whole-of-government approach is taken to the implementation of the
strategy through an Interdepartmental Committee (IDC) comprising the following
Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) (Chair);
Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID);
Australian Crime Commission;
n Australian Federal
n Australian Institute
n Commonwealth Director
of Public Prosecutions (CDPP);
n Department of
Education, Employment and Workplace Relations;
n Department of
Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCHSIA);
n Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade (DFAT);
n Department of
Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC);
n Department of Prime
Minister and Cabinet;
n Fair Work Building
and Construction; and
n Fair Work Ombudsman.
The IDC has the following responsibilities:
implementation of the anti-people trafficking strategy;
n reporting annually to
the Australian Parliament on its effectiveness; and
n ensuring that
emerging issues are addressed on a whole-of-government basis.
The IDC has also established an Operational Working Group, comprised of
the AFP, AGD, CDPP, DIAC and FaHCSIA, which is to ‘resolve operational issues
and refer emerging policy issues for the IDC’s consideration.’
Under the strategy, the Australian Government has provided more than
$100 million since 2003 to support domestic, regional and international
anti-trafficking measures, including:
n specialist teams within the AFP to investigate
trafficking-related matters. The Human Trafficking Teams have responsibility
for investigating people trafficking and related offences, working both
proactively and following referrals from other Commonwealth or State and
Territory Government agencies, industry and non-government organisations;
n legislation to
criminalise trafficking in persons and trafficking-related activities, which is
discussed further below;
n the Support for
Trafficked People Program, administered by FaCHSIA and delivered by the Australian
Red Cross, which provides individualised case management support, including
assistance in accessing accommodation, financial assistance, legal advice,
medical and counselling services, training and social support;
n an Australian
Policing Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which was endorsed by the
AFP and all State and Territory police services on 4 May 2011. The Policing
Strategy encompasses all forms of people trafficking, including labour
exploitation and organ harvesting, and imposes a number of obligations on the
n visa arrangements to
enable suspected victims of trafficking to remain in Australia and support the
investigation and prosecution of trafficking offences. The People Trafficking
Visa Framework enables people who are suspected victims of trafficking to
remain lawfully in Australia if they do not hold a valid visa (see chapter five
for further discussion of this framework);
immigration officers posted in Thailand, China and the Philippines, who focus on
people trafficking issues and aim to prevent trafficking in source countries;
n support for the CDPP
to prosecute trafficking matters, including funding and training;
n research into
trafficking trends in Australia and our region by the Australian Institute of
n increased regional
cooperation to combat trafficking in persons; and
assistance for trafficking victims who are returned to key source countries in
In June 2008, the Government established the National Roundtable on
People Trafficking as a ‘consultative mechanism between the Government and NGOs
on trafficking issues.’ The ministerial level Roundtable has convened each year
since 2008 and from 2011, has been supported by an operational level Senior
In 2011, 30 government and non-government organisations and the UN
Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children,
were invited to participate in the Roundtable.
Anti-Slavery Australia commented that the Roundtable has provided:
… a meaningful and effective forum for discussion of emerging
issues and consultation about priorities and responses. From the national
roundtable there have been significant outcomes, including the development of
the NGO guidelines for people working with trafficked people. That document set
out 10 guiding principles for those who are having contact with trafficked
people in Australia. Representations at the very first roundtable in 2008 led
to a review of the Australian Migration Regulations, and better visas were
established to protect those who have experienced trafficking. This year the
development of the national action plan is on the agenda.
Since 2008, the Government has provided $2.4 million in funding for
outreach, and education and awareness raising initiatives to four NGOs:
Anti-Slavery Australia, Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in
Humans (ACRATH), Project Respect and Scarlet Alliance.
The work undertaken with this funding is discussed further below.
In 2011, the Government also provided just under $500,000 from
confiscated criminal assets to five groups for projects to combat labour
exploitation in susceptible industries. The funding recipients
were Asian Women at Work ($96,098), Australian Council of Trade Unions ($200,000),
Australian Hotels Association ($25,000), Australian Red Cross ($64,974), and
the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union ($100,000).
Also in 2011, the Government provided $126,960 to the Australian Red
Cross to develop and deliver a professional training package for the community
sector. Between April and September 2012, the Red Cross delivered 52 training
sessions to almost 1,000 participants from 196 organisations.
The AFP hosted a collaborative awareness exercise for a number of Australian
NGOs and IDC agencies in April 2011, which led to the creation of the
Anti-Human Trafficking Community Resource. This is a comprehensive reference
guide to all key government agencies, NGOs, unions and industry groups that
have a role ‘in caring for victims and cooperatively obstructing and
investigating people trafficking and related offences.’
As noted in chapter three, a National Human Trafficking Desk (HT Desk)
was created within the Australian Criminal Intelligence Database and Australian
Law Enforcement Intelligence Net managed by the Australian Crime Commission in
June 2012. The HT Desk is a centralised point for information and intelligence
relating to people trafficking that is accessible to all contributing agencies.
In its submission, AGD advised that the Government will soon commence
work on a revised national action plan to combat trafficking that includes
benchmarks and indicators to measure progress and impact. This is in line with
recommendations by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in
persons, especially women and children, Dr Joy Ngozi Ezeilo OON, who undertook
a fact-finding mission to Australia in November 2011.
More recently, AGD informed the Committee that the term ‘people
trafficking’ used in the strategy and more broadly has been revised by the
Government to ‘human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices’ to better
reflect the range of offences and reduce confusion with people smuggling. The
IDC, the strategy and the revised national action plan will all use the changed
Australia is party to a number of agreements that together form an
international framework on trafficking.
The key international instruments used to combat people trafficking are
the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC)
(ratified by Australia in 2004) and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and
Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (the
Trafficking Protocol), which Australia ratified in 2005.
AGD stated that the Trafficking Protocol is:
… the first globally legally binding instrument with an
agreed definition on trafficking in persons and covers trafficking for sexual
servitude, slavery and labour exploitation.
As party to both UNTOC and the Trafficking Protocol, Australia has
called for and works toward universal adoption of both instruments. Australia
also supports the work of the UNTOC Working Group on Trafficking in Persons.
Australia is also party to other international agreements on trafficking:
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
n Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;
n Convention on the
Rights of the Child and Optional Protocols on the sale of children,
child prostitution and child pornography and on involvement of children
in armed conflict;
Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and
Practices Similar to Slavery; and
n several International
Labour Organization conventions on forced labour.
Chapter seven, which focusses on international best practice, outlines
other agreements that contributors to the inquiry considered Australia should
In its submission, DFAT outlined Australia’s activities in the United
Nations and other forums, such as the Bali Process on People Smuggling,
Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime. DFAT commented
that, as part of the Anti-People Trafficking Strategy:
Australia takes a holistic approach to combating people
trafficking and is working with regional and international partners to
strengthen legal and operational frameworks and to build the capacity of
criminal justice agencies and civil society to prevent trafficking, prosecute
perpetrators, and ensure victims are protected.
Australia’s activities in the United Nations include, in summary:
n participation in the
UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review;
creation and renewal of the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of
slavery, its causes and consequences;
n dialogue in the
United Nations General Assembly in 2012 on the Global Plan of Action to Combat
Trafficking in persons, and Fighting Human Trafficking; and
n support for adoption
of the UN Guiding Principles and Business and Human Rights and the UN Global
Australia has also been active in the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting and supports the efforts of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) through grant funding and hosting the OSCE Asian
Partners Conferences in 2013.
With Indonesia, Australia co-hosts the Bali Process on People
Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, through
which Australia works with regional partners to combat people trafficking.
The Committee was informed that people trafficking has been a central
focus of the Bali Process and that Australia has advocated strongly for
cooperation amongst Bali Process member countries to address this issue both
domestically and regionally.
Universal Periodic Review
Australia participates in the United Nations Human Rights Council’s
Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a process that involves periodic review of the
human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. In addition to promoting
human rights, the UPR aims to enhance the capacity of States to deal
effectively with human rights challenges and share best practice among States
and other stakeholders.
Slavery Links Australia described Australia’s participation in the first
round of the UPR in 2011 as a ‘model’ for other countries.
DFAT commented that, at both the Universal Periodic Review and UN
General Assembly, Australia:
… continues to raise the issue of people trafficking, noting
both progress and concerns within UN member states. During the Universal
Periodic Review’s 12th and 13th sessions in 2011 and
2012, Australia made reference to people trafficking in its interventions
during the reviews of human rights in Haiti, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo and the
Global Ambassador for Women and Girls
In September 2011, the Government appointed the first Global Ambassador
for Women and Girls, who is responsible for promoting gender equality and the
social, political and economic empowerment of women and girls, particularly in
the Asia-Pacific region. DFAT stated that the Ambassador provides a ‘new
avenue’ for Australia to combat trafficking in women and girls.
Ambassador for People Smuggling
Australia’s Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues is responsible for advancing
Australia’s interests in promoting effective and practical international
cooperation to combat people smuggling and trafficking in persons, particularly
in the Asia-Pacific region. The Ambassador also promotes closer regional
cooperation through the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in
Persons and Related Transnational Crime, which Australia co-chairs with
Australia’s aid program
For the period 2006 to 2014, the Australian Government provided over $50
million for anti-trafficking programs, including $8.5 million for AusAID
programs in 2012-13. In its submission DFAT
described Australian aid as follows:
Australian aid works to increase public education and
awareness of people trafficking and enhance regional cooperation to combat
trafficking in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries.
In particular, AusAID funds a number of targeted programs in South East Asia to
improve the capacity of governments’ criminal justice systems to identify and
prosecute traffickers, prevent sexual exploitation of children and reduce the
exploitation of migrant workers.
On 20 November 2012, the Prime Minister announced $50 million in funding
for 2013 to 2017 to establish the Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking
in Persons (AAPTIP), which is designed to strengthen the criminal
justice systems in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Philippines,
Thailand, and Vietnam. AAPTIP’s activities will
include training for more than 1,900 judges and prosecutors, establishment of a
research fund to strengthen data collection and victim support. The program
will also be extended to three recipient countries of suspected trafficked
labour: Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.
AAPTIP follows on from two earlier projects: Asia Regional Cooperation
to Prevent People Trafficking (2003-2006) and Asia Regional Trafficking in
Persons Project (ARTIP) (2006-2011, with a further transitional period
2012-2013). The ARTIP trained over 8,100 police officers, prosecutors and
judges. Police and prosecutors trained by the project investigated more than
150 cases of human trafficking between January and June 2012, with 107
The Law Council of Australia (LCA) commented on the effectiveness of the
ARTIP has been widely applauded for its innovative and
professional approach, and is considered to have made a substantial
contribution to regional anti-trafficking efforts as well as to global
understanding of effective criminal justice responses to trafficking.
Dr Anne Gallagher AO agreed that the ARTIP project had been successful,
This project is just about to commence its third phase, and
it is the world’s largest and most ambitious criminal justice initiative
against trafficking. It has been widely acclaimed for its impact on laws,
policies and practices within and outside the ASEAN region. I believe very
strongly that it represents Australia’s single most important contribution to
the global fight against human trafficking.
Dr Gallagher went on to say:
AusAID has for 10 years now been working in an area that many
donors did not touch for a very long time, and that is the hard edge of human
trafficking—not victim protection and building shelters and things like that,
but actually working to end the impunity of traffickers and to secure justice
for victims. I think that is a very big deal.
Other AusAID funded projects include Project Childhood, Tripartite
Action to Protect Migrants in the Greater Mekong Sub-region from Labour
Exploitation (TRIANGLE) Project and the MTV ‘End Exploitation and
Trafficking’ campaign, undertaken in partnership with the United States.
Agencies such as DIAC, AGD and the AFP also work with countries in the
region to strengthen immigration and legal regimes, international crime
cooperation and law enforcement.
The LCA pointed out the challenges associated with these activities,
n very few Asian
countries are party to the Trafficking Protocol;
n many countries lack
national legislation that specifically targets people trafficking; and
n even where such
legislation exists, laws are often not effectively enforced due to a lack of
law enforcement capability.
Australia’s aid program is centred upon the Millennium Development Goals.
AusAID commented that its broad programs are aimed at reducing poverty as well
as addressing gender inequality and the education of women and girls, improving
governance, and strengthening justice and human rights issues in recipient
countries. Ms Niblett stated:
… these programs, in broad, go to the root causes of some of
the issues around human trafficking.
ACRATH stressed the importance of the Millennium Development Goals,
arguing that overseas development assistance that is linked to reducing poverty
makes people less vulnerable to trafficking.  Similarly, the Josephite
Counter-Trafficking Project considered projects to improve education outcomes
would lead to better job opportunities, reducing the need for children to leave
Plan International Australia also commented, in relation to forced
Australia is a key donor for education initiatives, and
research has established that both early childhood care and development and
primary school education is a key strategy to delay marriage, and to increase
the value placed on the role of girls in their communities. A continued
emphasis on education and robust aid program will support efforts to eradicate
early and forced marriage.
AusAID also provides funding through the AusAID NGO Cooperation Program
to programs that complement Australia’s aid program and directly and tangibly
alleviate poverty, and the AusAID Human Rights Scheme for projects that
directly promote and protect human rights.
The Commonwealth Criminal Code sets out offences and severe
penalties ‘relating to slavery and trafficking persons, into, from, and within
Australia for the purposes of exploitation.’
The Trafficking Protocol sets out the scope of the legislative framework
to be adopted by States Parties. The offences under
Divisions 270 and 271 of the Criminal Code cover conduct, in line with
the Trafficking Protocol, which:
n occurs both across
borders and within Australia—subject to constitutional limitations
n is for a range of
n includes men, women
and children as victims, and
n takes place with or
without the involvement of organised crime groups.
The maximum penalties for offences under Division 270 and 271 range up
to 25 years’ imprisonment for slavery and trafficking in children.
On 8 March 2013 legislation amending the Criminal Code to ‘ensure
that the broadest range of exploitative behaviour is captured and criminalised’
commenced operation. The amendments established new offences of forced marriage
and harbouring a victim, standalone offences of forced labour and organ
harvesting, extended the application of existing offences relating to slavery
and sexual servitude, broadened definitions and increased penalties.
In its submission, Anti-Slavery Australia argued that the then bill
… have the effect of creating a hierarchy of criminal
offences signalled in part by the differing severity of penalties.
Anti-Slavery Australia went on to comment that:
n an important
practical effect of the legislation ‘is that slavery offences will be reserved
for the gravest crimes against humanity’;
n servitude offences
will replace the specific offence of sexual servitude, with the new offence
addressing ‘the condition of servitude, regardless of the form of servitude’;
n stand-alone offences of
forced labour have been included, fulfilling international obligations under
the Forced Labour Convention;
n debt bondage is
included in an expanded definition of exploitation and the aggravated offence
of debt bondage is introduced, necessary provisions for Australia to meet its
obligations under a number of international agreements;
n with regard to
trafficking in children, the new offences and unchanged offences will not fully
implement recommendations made by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in
September 2012, nor respond to criticisms of Australia’s treatment of
unaccompanied minors; and
n new offences and
aggravated offences are introduced relating to organ trafficking, a
comparatively new form of human trafficking.
Non-government groups and individuals expressed broad support for the
legislative changes although some groups
considered the amendments did not fully implement Australia’s obligations under
the Trafficking Protocol. For example, Project
Respect stated that:
… the development of a general consent provision, the
increasing of penalties that may apply to conviction of breaches of debt
bondage offences, the broadening of definitions, particularly exploitation, and
the relative increase of reparations to victims of human trafficking are
acknowledged as substantial steps in combating trafficking of persons. However,
as signatories to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in
Persons, especially Women and Children (Protocol), the government has failed to
substantially cater for the human rights components that the Protocol espouses.
As such, for Australia to meet its international obligations,
it is paramount that humanitarian concerns such as victim support and
compensation are satisfactorily met with the same vigour as the criminalization
Dr Anne Gallagher AO commented that the amendments ‘will not do much to
rationalise the framework or reduce its complexity’. Dr Gallagher supported a
formal review of the efficiencies and effectiveness of the new offences under
Divisions 270 and 271 of the Criminal Code, five years after enactment.
The AFP stated that the amended legislation was developed in response to
observed trends and that it would allow the AFP to deal with matters it was
unable to previously. Specifically:
… the recent reforms that were passed by parliament and
commenced on 8 March expanded the reach of the slavery offences to make sure
that we are able to capture offending across all different industries, and also
exploitation and trafficking in all of its different forms.
The Salvation Army similarly observed that the amendments, particularly
for forced labour and servitude, would ‘improve people’s ability to engage with
The CDPP informed the Committee that historically the Commonwealth has
been the main victim of Commonwealth offences, such as social security fraud or
tax fraud. There is, however, a growing range of Commonwealth offences,
including people-trafficking offences, where the victim is a person rather than
the Commonwealth. In its submission, the LCA
argued that victim and witness protection, including the use of victim impact
statements, should be addressed for Commonwealth offences.
The Committee notes that on 29 May 2013 further amendments to the Criminal
Code were introduced into the Australian Parliament.
The proposed amendments include measures to support victims of slavery,
slavery-like and people trafficking offences. The Explanatory Memorandum
The objective of the Bill is to expand protections available
for vulnerable witnesses in Commonwealth criminal proceedings, and provide for
the use of victim impact statements in the sentencing of federal offenders.
Specifically, the Bill will:
n extend existing
vulnerable witness protections available to children in sexual offence
proceedings in Part IAD of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) to apply to adult
victims of slavery, slavery-like and human trafficking offences, as well as
witnesses who apply to a court to be recognised as ‘special witnesses’ due to a
particular characteristic, in certain cases
n add a new category of
vulnerable witness protections to Part IAD of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)
to assist victims of child sex‑related, slavery, slavery‑like and human
trafficking offences give evidence in retrials and subsequent trials for those
n amend Part IB of the Crimes
Act 1914 (Cth) to provide a scheme for use of victim impact statements in
the sentencing of federal offenders, and
n amend Divisions 270
and 271 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) to allow a court to hear
evidence by video-link from witnesses outside Australia in proceedings for
slavery, slavery‑like and human trafficking offences.
The Explanatory Memorandum explains that the protection for vulnerable
witnesses is intended to minimise the risk of intimidation, additional trauma,
fear for personal safety and undue public embarrassment. The introduction of
victim impact statements will bring the support and protection afforded to
victims and witnesses of Commonwealth criminal offences in line with State and
The Committee welcomes the strengthening of Australia’s legislation to
combat human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like offences.
People trafficking cannot be addressed solely through domestic
legislation and initiatives, however, but requires a global response to tackle
not only the crimes themselves but also circumstances, such as poverty, that
contribute to a person’s vulnerability.
The Committee received evidence about the leadership role taken by Australia
in our region. Through an active approach to international and regional mechanisms
and targeted aid funding, Australia has gained a positive international
reputation. Hagar Australia, for example, described Australia as a ‘key opinion
leader’ in the region and a country other regional governments and communities
‘look to for help in reforming and refining their own civil institutions.’
The Committee supports an ongoing leadership role for Australia in
combating people trafficking, both globally and regionally.
The Committee recommends that
the Australian Government continue to use international mechanisms including,
but not limited to, the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal
Periodic Review to combat people trafficking.
Non-Government organisations’ responses
There are a number of NGOs that are actively involved in
anti-trafficking activities in Australia and, as noted above, several groups
have received Commonwealth funding under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
to support these activities.
The Australian Red Cross commented that:
A major component of the Australian Government’s
anti-trafficking efforts is its engagement with the NGO sector.
The Australian Red Cross occupies an important role in the
non-government sector as the provider of the Government’s Support for
Trafficked People Program.
Professor Andreas Schloenhardt of the University of Queensland commented
The most significant and most visible means by which the
Australian Government and NGOs cooperate to provide victim assistance is
through the Australian Red Cross, which has been commissioned to deliver
on-the-ground case management services for the Australian Government’s Support
for Victims of People Trafficking Program. … [T]he Australian Red Cross
provides a 24-hour a day, 7 days a week ‘national response’ across Australia to
assist victims of trafficking referred to them by the AFP. Support consists of
an individualised case management, accommodation assistance, counselling and
mental health support, medical treatment, income support, legal advice, skills
development training, and social support. The Australian Red Cross also
provides referrals to other relevant support services, legal advice, and
In addition to the Commonwealth funding received for the Support for
Trafficked People Program and community service providers’ training, the
Australian Red Cross received $64,974 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
in November 2011 to raise awareness of labour exploitation.
The Australian Red Cross described organisations such as Anti-Slavery
Australia, Project Respect, Samaritan Accommodation, ACRATH and Scarlet
Alliance, that have also received Commonwealth Government funding, as ‘key
partners in supporting Red Cross clients’.
The Australian Red Cross considered that there is potential to expand
engagement to other groups within the NGO sector, leading to a ‘more efficient,
cost-effective and successful response led by Government’.
Commonwealth funded community awareness and
Anti-Slavery Australia of the Faculty of Law at the University of
Technology, Sydney, is the only specialist legal and policy centre in Australia
focussed on slavery, trafficking and other labour exploitation. It provides
trafficked people and people who are vulnerable to trafficking with information
about their rights under Australian laws.
Anti-Slavery Australia has also produced a general community awareness
campaign that includes community service announcements shown in cinemas and on
free-to-air television. Anti-Slavery Australia indicated that one of these
announcements had screened 9,000 times in cinemas across Australia, targeting
the 18 to 24 year old age group.
Project Respect is a non-profit community organisation that aims to
empower and support women in the sex industry, including women trafficked to
Australia. Its funding is being used for outreach to women in the sex industry.
Ms Kelly Hinton told the Committee:
The federal government grant that we use is for outreach into
legal brothels with the aim of supporting women in the sex industry but
recognising that our work with them also leads us to work with women who have
been trafficked and identifying issues with trafficking gaps like this so that
we can recommend to the government.
Ms Hinton pointed out that Project Respect’s funding is project based
and that the organisation does not have any secure or ongoing funding.
Scarlet Alliance is the Australian Sex Workers Association and is
working to decrease the vulnerability of migrant sex workers to trafficking
through enhancing the capacity of its peer educators.
Scarlet Alliance told the Committee that it receives funding for both domestic
work and through AusAID to build capacity in other sex-worker organisations in
ACRATH facilitates the provision of direct services to people trafficked
into Australia and works to raise awareness, share information and build
national and international networks. Like Project Respect,
ACRATH pointed out the difficulties associated with funding:
… each of the four NGOs funded in the original funding …
received $600,000 over six years. … We have used that money
and added over 3,000 hours per six month of volunteer time to it to achieve
what we work on. We have been told that the Proceeds of Crime Act funding,
which has funded us up until now at $100,000 a year, has been frozen and will
no longer be available to any of the NGOs. Our money runs out in June 2014. We
believe that we are providing enormous value for that $100,000…
Ms Carolan provided an example of how ACRATH is raising community
awareness and the cost-effectiveness of its approach:
We were given a donation of $5,000. We employed a young
community worker and we have run something we call the ACRATH Rap, a radio
awareness project. We have picked up the new legislation that has forced labour
as an issue, we have advertised in the ethnic broadcasting world and put community
service announcements into the Chinese program, the Thai program, the Malaysian
program, so that people listening to those programs can say, ‘Oh, this is what
is happening in our community and it is wrong and it is actually now against
Australian law.’ We have the $5,000, and we have community service
announcements now in four languages being run on 3ZZZ and community radio
stations around Victoria. The SBS Chinese language program interviewed me. I do
not speak Chinese. They did a half-hour interview on trafficking and the
journalist said to me, ‘This is happening in our community; I know it.’ That is
a $5,000 amount, but if we did a little costing we think it would cost the
government over $100,000 to do that community awareness raising because the government
would need to pay for what we have been able to call on community sector
volunteers to do.
The Committee also received evidence from several groups which operate
n Hagar Australia,
which operates in Cambodia, Vietnam and Afghanistan to support survivors of
slavery and trafficking. In evidence to the
Committee, Hagar advocated for a greater focus from the Australian Government
on victim support in its international activities, including aid funding;
n Walk Free, a joint initiative
of the Australian Children’s Trust and Hope for Children Foundation with the
stated goal of ‘ending all forms of slavery, slavery-like practices and human
trafficking in our lifetime’. Walk Free saw
opportunities for Australia through its membership of the UN Security Council
and aid program to advance efforts to address slavery;
n Plan International
Australia, which works in over 70 countries
across the world to protect and advance the rights of children and promote
Plan International Australia saw a key role for Australia (based on its earlier
advocacy and aid program emphasis upon education) to continue to champion the
eradication of early and forced marriage.
AGD noted that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in
persons, especially women and children, Dr Joy Ngozi Ezeilo OON ‘commended
Australia’s robust working relationship with NGOs’ when reporting on her
November 2011 fact finding mission to Australia.
The Australian Government has demonstrated a commitment to tackling the
issues of slavery and human trafficking through cooperation at the government
level and in cooperation with non-government organisations.
The Committee supports the active involvement of the non-government sector
in this process. Non-government organisations have taken on an important role
as part of the Anti-People Trafficking Strategy, through implementing victim
support programs, raising community awareness and other outreach. The Committee
considers it is essential that ongoing Commonwealth funding support be provided
to the non-government sector to continue these activities.
The Committee recommends that
the Australian Government negotiate re-funding of contracts for
non-government organisations one year ahead of the current contracts’