​Trafficking and slavery in Australia: an evaluation of victim support strategies

Author(s) Burn, Jennifer and Frances Simmons
Title Trafficking and slavery in Australia: an evaluation of victim support strategies
Source Asian and Pacific Migration Journal; December 2006; Vol 16 No 4; pp 553-570
Date 2006
Document type Journal article
Summary This paper reviews Australia's response to trafficking in the context of the United Nations Trafficking Protocol. The Commonwealth Action Plan to Eradicate Trafficking in Persons released in June 2004 has four elements: prevention, detection and investigation, criminal prosecution, victim support and rehabilitation. New visa arrangements for trafficked persons who assist police investigations or prosecutions are critically evaluated. The authors contend that the discretionary nature of the visas and absence of a transparent application process undermines the effectiveness of the visa system and recommend that trafficking visas should not be tied to the criminal justice process. It is argued that trafficked victims should be provided with protection and support based on their status as victims rather than witnesses. It was also found that the new visa framework failed to achieve its own objectives of creating a secure, trusting environment where victims will be willing to testify against the traffickers. The authors conclude that creating a victim support program which only operates within the narrow confines of the criminal justice system fails to protect the human rights of trafficking victims who cannot assist in the prosecution process.
Keywords Trafficking; slavery; visas; victim support; witness protection visa; safety
Topic Human trafficking