Chapter 1 - The inquiry
Introduction and the role of the JPC
June 2003, the Committee
adopted the following terms of reference:
That, in accordance with paragraph 55(1)(a) and (d) of the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002,
the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the
Australian Crime Commission inquire into and report on the Australian Crime
Commission’s response to the emerging trend of trafficking in women for sexual
servitude with particular reference to:
the Australian Crime Commission’s work in establishing
the extent of people trafficking in Australia
for the purposes of sexual servitude;
the Australian Crime Commission’s relationship with the
relevant State and other Commonwealth agencies; and
the adequacy of the current legislative framework.
The Inquiry was conducted under the authority of
paragraph 55 (1)(d) of the Australian
Crime Commission Act 2002 (the Act).
The paragraph states:
Duties of the Committee
(1) The duties of the
examine trends and changes in criminal activities, practices and methods and
report to both Houses of the Parliament any change which the Committee thinks
desirable to the functions, structure, powers and procedures of the ACC;
The Australian Crime Commission’s role is set out in
section 7A of the Act which may be found at Appendix 3. At the core of the
ACC’s investigative role is 'federally relevant criminal activity' which
involves 'serious and organised crime'.
Section 4 of the Act sets out the characteristics of serious and
Origins of the inquiry
The Committee's inquiry
stemmed in part from the emergence in the media of allegations of mishandling
of cases of trafficked women by government agencies. Of particular concern was
the allegation that women, who were in effect prisoners of traffickers who
forced them into the sex trade against their will, were simply deported by
government agencies with no regard for their condition as victims of crime.
During the course of the Committee's
inquiry, the government announced several major initiatives to address these
concerns and combat the problem of trafficking in women. These comprised first,
a national program of measures released by the Australasian Police Ministers'
Council (APMC), and second, a Commonwealth government package.
National action plan to combat
trafficking in women
The Australasian Police Ministers' Council (APMC) committed
all law enforcement agencies to the development of a National Action Plan to
enhance efforts to combat these serious crimes. The APMC agreed that:
All jurisdictions will review their legislation
on sexual servitude and other offences related to trafficking.
All jurisdictions will examine their current
intelligence and information sharing practices.
All jurisdictions will review current
operational arrangements with the Department of Immigration and Multicultural
and Indigenous Affairs to ensure victims of trafficking and sexual servitude
are identified as victims of crime.
The Commonwealth will work with States and
Territories to develop the National Action Plan.
Final proposals will be referred to the Board of
the Australian Crime Commission for endorsement.
Commonwealth Action Plan to
Eradicate Trafficking in Persons
This national approach will be led at the Commonwealth
level by the development of the Commonwealth Action Plan to Eradicate
Trafficking in Persons, which provides for:
A new community awareness campaign to raise
awareness of trafficking issues within Australia.
A new 23-member Australian Federal Police (AFP)
mobile strike team (the Transnational Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking Team)
to investigate trafficking and sexual servitude.
A new Senior Migration Officer (Compliance) in
Thailand, focused on trafficking in persons.
Closer links between the AFP and Department of
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) officers in the
detection and investigation of trafficking and enhanced training on trafficking
New visa arrangements for potentially trafficked
Comprehensive victim support measures provided
through contracted case managers, including appropriate accommodation and
living expenses and access for victims to a wide range of social support,
legal, medical and counselling services.
Enhancement of arrangements, including access to
additional support, for the small number of potential victims who may be
required to remain in immigration detention.
Development of a reintegration assistance
project for trafficking victims who are returned to key source countries in
South East Asia.
Improvements to legislation to comprehensively criminalise
Legislative amendments to make
telecommunications interception available for investigating
Ratification, once all domestic requirements are
in place, of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish
Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.
Overall, the package is designed to 'focus on the full
cycle of trafficking from recruitment to reintegration and to giving equal
weight to the three critical areas of prevention, prosecution and victim
Also of relevance has been the introduction, in March
2004, of the Surveillance Devices Bill 2004, which (among other things) would
enable surveillance devices to be used as part of the investigation into people
trafficking and child sex tourism offences. The bill also seeks to expand the
range of surveillance devices that may be used, to include data surveillance
devices, optical surveillance devices and tracking devices.
Conduct of the inquiry
The Committee advertised
the inquiry in 'the Australian' newspaper on 26 June and 13 August 2003. In addition, the
Committee wrote to a number of interested
individuals and organisations, including the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian
Federal Police, State and Territory police services, and non-government
organisations. In response, the Committee
received 39 submissions. These are listed at Appendix 1.
The Committee also held
public hearings in Melbourne
on 18 November 2003;
in Sydney and Canberra
on 25 & 26 February 2004;
and a second hearing in Canberra on
30 March 2004. Details
of these hearings are listed at Appendix 2.
As always, the Committee wishes to record its thanks to
all those who took the time to prepare submissions to the inquiry and to those
who participated in the hearings.
Outline of the report
The following three chapters of this report essentially
follow the terms of reference. Thus: Chapter 2 addresses the nature and extent
of the problem; Chapter 3 examines the ACC's role in the overall Australian
government's response to the problem, while Chapter 4 assesses the legislative
framework that underpins Australia's
response to the trafficking of women for sexual servitude.
Although the terms of reference focus on the role of
the Australian Crime Commission, each of the chapters necessarily takes a
broader view of the issues in order to ensure a thorough examination of the ACC's
role in its wider context.