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A better justice system to combat human trafficking

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Brendan O’Connor, MP Minister for Home Affairs Minister for Justice Minister for Privacy and Freedom of Information

Member for Gorton Wednesday, 24 November 2010

A better justice system to combat human trafficking

The Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O’Connor today kicked off discussion about possible reforms to Australia’s criminal law on slavery and servitude.

“Today I released a discussion paper canvassing options for improving our legal framework to stop trafficking and better meet the needs of victims,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The discussion paper is being issued as part of today’s National Roundtable on People Trafficking, which brings together anti-trafficking groups, unions, industry bodies and Ministers to find solutions to this important transnational crime,” he said.

The discussion paper covers issues including: - the criminal sanctions available on people trafficking and slavery crimes - including the possible need for new charges to be introduced to better target slavery, forced marriage and exploitative labour practices - reparation for victims of people trafficking - including court ordered payments to victims - protection for vulnerable witnesses - including suppression of witnesses identities and more

sensitive means of witnesses providing their evidence to court.

“It is important that we look at the existing criminal sanctions to ensure that law enforcement agencies have the best tools to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of labour trafficking.

“The numbers of people trafficked to Australia is not high but it is a particularly heinous crime with devastating consequences for victims and their families,” Mr O’Connor said.

“One victim of human trafficking is one too many - that’s why we’re dedicating funding, resources and time to working with non-government organisations to address this crime.”

“I know that the non-government sector is instrumental in raising awareness of human trafficking, identifying cases and providing support to victims.”

“So I look forward to hearing from the people who are doing the hard yards in this important human rights, criminal and economic matter about their thoughts on the way forward.”

The Criminal Justice Response to Slavery and People Trafficking, Reparation and Vulnerable Witness Protections discussion paper is available at

Interested parties are encouraged to provide feedback by 25 February 2011 by email For further information call the Attorney General’s Department on 02 6141 2778.

Media Adviser: Jayne Stinson 0458 547 512