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Notice given 26 February 2003

*1218  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs—With reference to the practice of ‘trafficking’ in people:

(1) Is it not the case that there are women who were deceived at every stage of the trafficking process, who have gone to the department and are willing to testify, but the department has not responded to their offers.

(2) (a) On how many occasions have women made such representation to the department in the past 3 years; and (b) can details of these representations be provided.

(3) With reference to the evidence given by the First Assistant Secretary, Border Control and Compliance Division, Mr Moorhouse, to the Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee estimates hearings in February 2003, that consent to prostitution effectively ruled out trafficking: is it not the case that under the United Nations protocol on trafficking, which the Government signed on 11 December 2002, consent is irrelevant in trafficking cases.

(4) Did Mr Moorhouse deliberately mislead the committee or was he unfamiliar with this protocol.

(5) With reference to evidence given by Mr Moorhouse which referred to the death of a woman, but dismissed her case because she was a ‘frequent drug user’ (Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee Hansard , 11 February 2003, pp 156-7): (a) was the women concerned Ms Puongton Simplee; and (b) why is the claim the woman was a ‘frequent drug user’ relevant to the case.

(6) Is it not the case that the coronial inquiry into Ms Simplee’s death is scheduled to occur from 12 March to 14 March 2003 and that it has not been established that drug use contributed to her death.

 (7) Is it not the case that Ms Simplee was a victim of trafficking for prostitution and may have been brought into the country as a child.

(8) Is it not the case that Ms Simplee informed Australasian Correctional Management and the department that she had been a victim of trafficking, for which the department took no action.

(9) Why did the department take no action and why did it ignore the signs that Ms Simplee was a victim of violence.

(10) Can the department explain why it was that when Ms Simplee entered the detention centre she weighed 38 kilos and died less than 3 days later weighing only 31 kilos.

(11) Does this case, and do other similar cases, raise questions about the appropriateness of mandatory detention for potentially trafficked women.