House of Representatives Committees


| Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

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Preliminary Pages

Foreword

Trafficking in persons, slavery and slavery-like practices is an egregious violation of an individual’s human rights. Trafficking and slavery victims are exploited physically, emotionally and mentally and the effects of this trauma can be long lasting and destructive.

Trafficking in persons, slavery and slavery-like practices are some of the fastest growing criminal activities in the world. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that between 2002 and 2011 there were over 20 million victims of forced labour globally. In 2009, the ILO also estimated that the annual global profits from trafficked forced labourers were around US$32 million. This equates to a profit of US$13,000 for each woman, man and child trafficked into forced labour.

The crimes of trafficking in persons, slavery and slavery-like practices place an additional economic burden on each country. Funding is provided for resources devoted to its prevention, the treatment and support of victims and the apprehension and prosecution of offenders.

Every country around the world is affected, including Australia. Since 2004 the Australian Federal Police have undertaken more than 375 investigations and assessments into allegations of trafficking in persons, slavery and slavery-like practices. 209 suspected victims of trafficking in persons and slavery were provided government support through the Support for Trafficked People Program, and there have now been 17 convictions for slavery, slavery-like and trafficking in persons offences.

The Committee acknowledges the steps taken by the Government to strengthen Australia’s criminal justice framework, establishing additional offences of forced marriage, forced labour, organ trafficking and harbouring a victim in the Criminal Code.

Australia has an opportunity to maximise its effectiveness by implementing a suite of mechanisms and tools to combat these crimes and increase support for its victims at the national and international level.

Nationally, Australia can take action to prevent these crimes, prosecute the offenders and support the victims. The Committee has therefore recommended that suspected victims of trafficking be provided an initial automatic reflection period of 45 days with two further extensions of 45 days if required; the Australian Government review the People Trafficking Visa Framework and the Support for Victims of People Trafficking Program; the Australian Government further investigate the establishment of a federal compensation scheme for victims of slavery and people trafficking; and review the current rates of compensation.

Internationally, Australia can increase its engagement with this issue in international fora and examine introducing anti-trafficking and anti-slavery mechanisms appropriate for the Australian context to bring awareness to forced labour in global supply chains. The Committee has recommended that the Australian Government continue to use international forums including the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review to combat people trafficking; undertake a review to establish anti-trafficking and anti-slavery mechanisms appropriate for the Australian context with the objective of improving transparency in supply chains, introducing a labelling and certification strategy for products and services that have been produced ethically, and increasing the prominence of fair trade in Australia.

In order to protect the more vulnerable members of our society which traffickers target for exploitation, particularly individuals on visas, the Committee recommends that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship develop a fact sheet to provide visa applicants appropriate information on their rights as part of the visa application process.

To prevent offenders from accessing sites containing trafficked children, the Committee recommends that the dynamic list of individual web pages with child sexual abuse content maintained by the UK’s Internet Watch Foundation be utilised to block access to these sites in Australia.

Lastly, the Committee calls for the Australian Government to negotiate re-funding of contracts for non-government organisations one year ahead of the contract’s conclusion.

The Committee would like to sincerely thank all of the Departments, law enforcement agencies, academics, NGOs, civil society organisations and concerned individuals for generously donating their time, effort and resources to make submissions and appear at public hearings. I would also like to thank my hard working colleagues on the Committee who are dedicated advocates for human rights both domestically and internationally.

 

Hon Laurie Ferguson MP
Chair

 

Membership of the Committee

 

Chair

Senator Michael Forshaw (to 30/06/11)

Mr Michael Danby MP (from 1/07/11 to 15/05/13)

Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP (from 15/05/13)

Deputy Chair

Mrs Joanna Gash MP

 

Members

Senator Mark Bishop

Senator the Hon John Faulkner
(from 30/09/10 to 14/02/11)

Senator David Fawcett (from 1/07/11)

Senator the Hon Alan Ferguson
(to 30/06/11)

Senator Mark Furner

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young

Senator the Hon David Johnston

Senator Scott Ludlam

Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald

Senator Anne McEwen (from 1/07/11)

Senator Claire Moore

Senator Kerry O’Brien
(from 14/02/11 to 30/06/11)

Senator Stephen Parry (from 1/07/11)

Senator Marise Payne

Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens (from 1/07/11)

Senator Russell Trood (to 30/06/11)

 

Hon Dick Adams MP (from 24/03/11)

Hon Julie Bishop MP

Ms Gai Brodtmann MP

Hon Anthony Byrne MP
(to 14/03/12; from 19/09/12)

Mr Nick Champion MP

Hon Laurie Ferguson MP

Mr Steve Georganas MP (to 24/03/11)

Mr Steve Gibbons MP (to 7/02/12)

Hon Alan Griffin MP

Hon Harry Jenkins MP (from 7/02/12)

Dr Dennis Jensen MP

Hon Richard Marles MP (from 14/05/13)

Hon Robert McClelland MP
(from 14/03/12 to 19/09/12)

Mrs Sophie Mirabella MP

Hon John Murphy MP

Mr Ken O’Dowd MP (from 25/10/10)

Ms Melissa Parke MP (to 5/02/13)

Mr Stuart Robert MP

Hon Philip Ruddock MP

Ms Janelle Saffin MP

Hon Bruce Scott MP

Hon Peter Slipper MP (from 1/11/12)

Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP (from 25/10/10)

Ms Maria Vamvakinou MP

 

 

 

Membership of the Human Rights Sub-Committee

 

Chair

Mr Laurie Ferguson MP (to 19/09/12; from 5/02/13)

Hon Melissa Parke MP (from 19/09/12 to 5/02/13)

Deputy Chair

Hon Philip Ruddock MP

 

Members

Senator David Fawcett
Senator Mark Furner
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
Senator Claire Moore
Senator Stephen Parry
Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens

Hon Dick Adams MP

Mr Michael Danby MP (from 1/07/11 to 15/05/13)
Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP (ex officio)
Mrs Joanna Gash MP (ex officio)
Mr Harry Jenkins MP
Hon Melissa Parke MP (to 19/09/12)
Hon Peter Slipper MP (from 1/11/12)
Ms Maria Vamvakinou MP

 

 

Committee Secretariat

 

Secretary

Mr Jerome Brown

Inquiry Secretaries

Mr Paul Zinkel

Ms Julia Searle

Research Officers

Mr James Bunce
Mr Alexander Coward

Administrative Officers

Ms Jessica Butler
Mrs Sonya Gaspar
Ms Lauren McDougall
Ms Kane Moir

 

 

Terms of reference

 

The Human Rights Sub-Committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade shall inquire into and report on slavery, slavery like conditions and people trafficking with a particular focus on:

n  Australia’s efforts to address people trafficking, including through prosecuting offenders and protecting and supporting victims;

n  ways to encourage effective international action to address all forms of slavery, slavery-like conditions and people trafficking; and

n  international best practice to address all forms of slavery, slavery-like conditions and people trafficking.

 

List of abbreviations

 

AATIP

Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons

ACC

Australian Crime Commission

ACID

Australian Criminal Intelligence Database

ACL

Australian Christian Lobby

ACRATH

Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans

ACTU

Australian Council of Trade Unions

AFP

Australian Federal Police

AGD

Attorney-General’s Department

AIC

Australian Institute of Criminology

ALEIN

Australian Law Enforcement Intelligence Network

ALHR

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

ARC

Australian Red Cross

ARTIP

Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project

ASA

Anti-Slavery Australia

ASEAN

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

AusAID

Australian Agency for International Development

the Bureau

Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs

BVF

Bridging F visa

CDPP

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

CHOGM

2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

CJSV

Criminal Justice Stay visa

Criminal Code

Criminal Code Act 1995

CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility

CSW

Commission on the Status of Women

Cth

Commonwealth

DEEWR

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

DFAT

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

DIAC

Department of Immigration and Citizenship

EFIC

Export Finance and Insurance Corporation

EU

European Union

FaCHSIA

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

FECCA

Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia

Forced Labour Convention

1930 Convention concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour

FVA

Family Voice Australia

HT Desk

National Human Trafficking Desk

HTT

Human Trafficking Teams

IDC

Interdepartmental Committee

ILO

International Labour Organisation

JCTP

Josephite CounterTrafficking Project

LCA

Law Council of Australia

MOGEF

Ministry of Gender Equality and Family

NGOs

Non-Government Organisations

NSA

No Slavery Australia

NSW Bar

New South Wales Bar Association

NTEU

National Tertiary Education Union

OECD

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

OON

Officer of the Order of the Niger

OSCE

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

PIA

Plan International Australia

Slavery Convention

1926 International Convention to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery

STPP

Support for Trafficked People Program

Supplementary Slavery Convention

1956 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery

TIP Report

US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report

Trafficking Protocol

2000 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children

TRIANGLE

Project Childhood, Tripartite Action to Protect Migrants in the Greater Mekong Sub-region from Labour Exploitation Project

the Tribunal

Victorian Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal

UK

United Kingdom

UN

United Nations

UNICEF

United Nations Children’s Fund

UNIFEM

Fonds des Nations Unies pour la Femme

UNGA

United Nations General Assembly

UNODC

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

UNTOC

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

UPR

Universal Periodic Review

US

United States

WPTV

Witness Protection (Trafficking) (Permanent) visa

WVA

World Vision Australia

 

List of recommendations

3 Current extent of slavery and people trafficking in Australia

Recommendation 1

The Committee recommends that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, in conjunction with the Interdepartmental Committee on Human Trafficking and Slavery and relevant non-government organisations, develop a fact sheet to provide visa applicants appropriate information on their rights as part of the visa application process. The information should be available in the visa applicant’s language.

4 Australia’s response to people trafficking

Recommendation 2

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.

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government negotiate re-funding of contracts for non-government organisations one year ahead of the current contracts’ conclusion.

5 Support for victims of trafficking and slavery

Recommendation 4

The Committee recommends that suspected victims of trafficking be provided an initial automatic reflection period of 45 days, with relevant agencies given the capability to grant two further extensions of 45 days if required. In addition, the suspected victims of trafficking should be provided appropriate support services through the Support for Trafficked People Program.

Recommendation 5

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government consider Recommendation 3 of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs report on the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Bill 2012, having regard to the need to ensure that even if assistance does not lead to a conviction, it is still substantial in terms of giving assistance to authorities.

Recommendation 6

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government further investigate the establishment of a federal compensation scheme for proven victims of slavery and people trafficking. The compensation fund should be funded by persons convicted of these crimes. The Committee also recommends that the Australian Government review the current rates of compensation.

6 Exploitation in product supply chains

Recommendation 7

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, undertake a review to establish anti-trafficking and anti-slavery mechanisms appropriate for the Australian context. The review should be conducted with a view to:

  • introducing legislation to improve transparency in supply chains;
  • the development of a labelling and certification strategy for products and services that have been produced ethically; and
  • increasing the prominence of fair trade in Australia.

    7 Community perceptions on international best practice

    Recommendation 8

    The Committee recommends that the Australian Government utilise the UK Internet Watch Foundation’s URL list to block access to child abuse sites in Australia.

     

     

     

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