Forced labour and human trafficking the criminalisation of labour trafficking
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Forced Labour and Human Trafficking: The Criminalisation of Labour Trafficking . Susan Kneebone Emeritus Associate Castan Centre 17 May 2013 . Human Trafficking . Incudes ‘labour trafficking’ A ‘bifurcated’ approach to human trafficking distorts the focus

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Forced Labour and Human Trafficking: The Criminalisation of Labour Trafficking

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Forced labour and human trafficking the criminalisation of labour trafficking

Forced Labour and Human Trafficking: The Criminalisation of Labour Trafficking

Susan Kneebone

Emeritus Associate Castan Centre

17 May 2013


Human trafficking

Human Trafficking

  • Incudes ‘labour trafficking’

  • A ‘bifurcated’ approach to human trafficking distorts the focus

  • The exploitation covered by the Trafficking Protocol includes ‘labour trafficking’

  • Forced labour is an extreme example of exploitation


How did we get to this position

How did we get to this position?

  • Australia:

  • The early response to trafficking focused on prostitution and illegal migration

  • The legislation reflected that focus

  • The ‘457’ visa issue

  • International students


How does our problem with labour trafficking connect with the region

How does our problem with labour trafficking connect with the region?

  • It is connected

  • The region knew from the beginning that ‘human trafficking’ = people moving to work

  • Victims of labour trafficking are (mostly) migrant workers

  • It is a transnational issue (mostly)

  • [But we need to recognise internal trafficking]


So if this is a problem of human trafficking what are the consequences

So if this is a problem of human trafficking what are the consequences?

  • The anti- trafficking framework requires

    • Prevention

    • Protection and

    • Cooperation (Federal \ state and transnational)


Much more needs to be done on prevention

Much more needs to be done on prevention

  • We need campaigns targeted at particular industries

  • Eg, construction, hospitality, plus international students

  • We need to bring in the unions and other labour abuse scrutineers

  • To recognise the human rights dimension …


Lessons from early responses to human trafficking

Lessons from early responses to human trafficking

  • A focus on protection brings the victim into the picture

  • Without victims criminalisation is ineffective


Is our legal framework adequate

Is our legal framework adequate?

  • No

  • The Criminal Code is too narrowly focused

  • It does not capture the whole essence of the trafficking process

  • Further it is not transnational in operation

  • The exploitation mostly begins at an overseas point

    • Issues with recruitment \ pre-departure training at source

    • Australia’s current efforts on anti-trafficking in the region


What about cooperation

What about cooperation

  • Australia could learn a lot from the region and take a leadership role

  • As distinct from a defensive stance

    • Issues with bilateral arrangements in the region

    • The need for a stronger focus on state responsibilities to migrant workers


We need to learn from our past mistakes

We need to learn from our past mistakes

  • And from our neighbours

  • THANK YOU!


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