29 June 2012


The Australian Institute of Criminology’s second Trafficking in persons Monitoring Report (covering the period January 2009 to June 2011) has been released by the Attorney-General and the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice. People trafficking is criminalised by the Criminal Code Amendment (Slavery and Sexual Servitude) Act 1999 (Cth) - with offences of slavery, sexual servitude and deceptive recruiting - and the Criminal Code Amendment (Trafficking in Persons Offences) Act 2005 (Cth) that identifies offences of trafficking in persons, trafficking in children, domestic trafficking in persons and debt bondage.

The monitoring report, based on statistics from the Australian Government and an online AIC survey, indicates that between January 2004 and June 2011 there were 305 investigations and assessments of trafficking-related offences. 184 victims of trafficking were provided with assistance through the Office for Women’s Support for Trafficked Persons Program. Thirteen people were convicted of trafficking-related offences (9 were convicted of slavery offences, 3 of sexual servitude and 1 of people trafficking), for example The Queen v Wei Tang [2006] VCC 637.

Most victims were women trafficked for sexual exploitation (68% of police investigations and 81.4% of program clients).

The AIC survey of respondents’ understanding of trafficking and their attitude to a range of related issues (including people who are unlawfully in Australia, labour exploitation, sex work and the notion of ‘deserving’ victims) was run nationally in mid-2009. 63% of the 1,617 respondents respondents were female, 46% were aged between 30 and 49, 76% were born in Australia, 75% were living in the eastern states and 50% were in full-time employment.

The AIC concludes that
survey participants were, by and large, reasonably well informed about trafficking and held quite humane attitudes. There was strong support for the notion that the human rights of trafficked persons are paramount and that trafficked persons require support regardless of how they arrive in Australia.
A complementary AIC research paper on People trafficking in Australia recommends that official statistics should be supplemented with data from NGOs working with human trafficking victims to create a national minimum dataset to improve knowledge of trafficking in Australia