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What is Human trafficking

Commercial trade of human beings for purpose of some form of slavery


How are people forced into slavery

By way of human trafficking


Forms of contemporary slavery

  • Forced Slavery
  • Prison labour
  • Debt Bondage
  • Forced Marriage
  • Child labour
  • Sex Slavery


R v Wei tang details

  • First jury conviction under the slavery provisions of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.
  • Brothel owner Wei Tang purchased five women in Thailand to work in a licensed brothel and who were required to repay a debt of $45,000 each by working six days a week over 7-8 months. Passports were withheld and from them.
  • Wei Tang was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment
  • The High Court upheld original conviction


Time line Modern slavery in Australia

  • Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • 2003 Aus Anti trafficking strategy
  • 2005 ratified the UN protocol to prevent strategy
  • 2005 Criminal Code Amendment (Trafficking in Person Offences) Act 2005 (Cth) fulfil obligations in UN protocol
  • 2008 fed govt introduced new measures under anti trafficking strategy
  • 2008 R V Wei Tang (Appeal) (2008)
  • 2013 Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Act 2013.
  • 2018 Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) introduced in response to increased slavery complaints


What does Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) do

Compel large companies to report annually on their efforts to safeguard supply chains from slavery and to make details available to the public.


What limits the effectiveness of Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth)

  • Evidence of exploitation is hard to detect due to the supply chain of the suppliers
  • The reporting threshold for companies may be too high (only large companies with yearly turnovers of $100m)
  • Also no penalties for non-compliance
  • No independent watchdog


How will complaints be investigated under Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth)

Anti Slavery commissioner


Change of Slavery over time

  • 17th-19th century Transatlantic Slave Trade
  • 19th century slavery abolished
  • Current (21st century) Slavery continues in other forms


What is slavery

A type of forced labour where a person is considered to be the legal property of another. 


How are most people forced into slavery

By way of human trafficking


What are main Intl legal responses to slavery and HT

  • All countries have Anti-Slavery laws
  • Slavery Convention 1926 
  • UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons 2003
  • China banned export of prison made products (however many Chinese companies have been established to do this, Govt has been unwilling to comply with Intl laws as well as their own) NPR 2014 ‘Made in China – but was it made in a prison’


What did Slavery Convention 1926 do

Abolished slavery and was expanded in 1956 to include debt bondage, forced marriage and child slavery under the definition of slavery


What did UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons 2000 do

Promoted greater global awareness and allowed greater cross-border cooperation to limit human trafficking however not all states have signed, SS (limit effectiveness)


What did Modern Slavery Act 2015 do

Makes it mandatory for large companies to audit their supply chains and to make findings public


What are the main factors that limit the effectiveness of Intl legal responses

  • State sovereignty (SS)
  • Absence of the rule of law
  • Lack of political will to enforce law
  • Resource availability
  • Embedded cultural practices
  • Lack of enforceability


What is forced labour

Work which a person has not voluntarily submitted to and is performed under threat of a penalty or harm


Example of forced labour

  • Victims might include workers in factories, mining and agriculture and construction.
  • Revealed: Qatar’s World Cup slaves’ The Guardian 26/9/13 reveal Nepalese migrant workers dying every day building the World Cup stadium in Qatar


What is debt bondage

A situation where a person is forced to repay a loan with labour instead of money and where the proper value of labour is not applied towards repayment.


What is sexual slavery

  • Repeated violation or sexual abuse or forcing of a victim to provide sexual services
  • Regularly takes the form of forced prostitution or forced labour where sexual abuse is also common


What is forced marriage

When families cannot support their children, daughters are often married off to the males of wealthier, more powerful families


What are main slavery destination countries

  • US
  • Canada
  • Europe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Australia
  • India
  • China


What are the main origin countries for slavery

  • Russia
  • Eastern European countries
  • Western Africa 
  • South America


What are main non-legal responses to HT and Slavery

  • Minderoo foundation
  • Adra
  • Media


What is role of Minderoo/Walk Free foundation

  • Global Slavery index (Quantified modern slavery in 2016 at 45 million)
  • Campaign for change (lobby)
  • Lobby govt to pass legislation against importing goods tainted with slave labour
  • Lobby’s businesses to examine their supply chains to ensure they are not ‘slave tainted’
  • Help to liberate people (grassroots level to educate people and build strong instituions)


What has been role of Media in regards to slavery

  • Informs public about companies that use slave labour
  • Educates public on issues of slavery, Al Jazeera 2011 ‘Slavery a 21st century evil’
  • Pressures govt to pass legislation to ban slavery


What does ADRA/keep girls safe do

  • Prevention approach and aims to keep girls at risk of being sex trafficked safe


What are potential future directions for slavery enforcement

  • Possibility to invoke R2P to help developing nations build strong economies
  • Sustainable Development Goals seek to end poverty and improve education
  • Media awareness lead to further consumer boycotts
  • Possibility for Modern Slavery Act to be expanded to include smaller companies and fines


How has lack of enforceability been highlighted

  • Modern Slavery Act in the UK has been criticised as there are no fines associated with a supply chain tainted with slave labour à although due to principle of CSR businesses may face drop in sales (financial repercussions) if findings are made public.


What's an example of an embedded cultural practice

  • Practices such as the ‘dowry’ system (money/goods that brides family gives to groom’s family as a ‘payment’ for marriage) and the tendency to abort female foetuses due to expensive dowries resulting in imbalance of males over females in India à led to market for brides.