U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Australia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||3 June 2005|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Australia, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d82e23.html [accessed 31 January 2015]|
Australia (Tier 1)
Australia is a destination country for women from Southeast Asia, South Korea, and the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) who are trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Some of these women travel to Australia voluntarily to work in both legal and illegal brothels but are deceived or coerced into debt bondage or sexual servitude.
The Government of Australia fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The Commonwealth's Action Plan to Eradicate Trafficking in Persons provided substantial financial and personnel resources to combat the problem both domestically and internationally. Over the last year, the government further refined its anti-trafficking program. In 2004, the government made significant and greater efforts to combat trafficking, including developing further legislation to criminalize aspects of trafficking and increase penalties for trafficking-related offenses, increasing prosecutions, and enhancing victim assistance. The government should consider expanding its protection efforts to cover victims who cooperate with the police but are not part of a viable investigation.
The Australian Government made progress in its efforts to prosecute trafficking-related offenses. Trafficking cases were prosecuted under various statutes including provisions in the Commonwealth Criminal Code, the Crimes Act, and the Migration Act. During the reporting period, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigated 38 trafficking cases that led to the prosecution of 14 traffickers in five cases involving 24 victims. There were no trafficking convictions during the reporting period. The AFP's Transnational Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking Team, a 23-person unit dedicated to investigating trafficking cases, was charged with determining whether a person is a trafficking victim, often after an initial referral from Australia's immigration agency. In addition to improving law enforcement efforts, the government has been developing further legislation to criminalize aspects of trafficking and increase the penalties for trafficking-related offenses. The government also used the Crimes Act to convict Australian citizens and residents who traveled abroad to engage in sex with minors less than 16 years of age. Since 1994, 13 pedophiles have been convicted under this law, which carries a maximum sentence of 17 years.
In 2004, the government took significant steps to improve efforts by police and immigration authorities to distinguish trafficking victims from illegal migrants. The Australian Government also made progress in identifying and eliciting the cooperation of trafficking victims in providing criminal evidence for the prosecution of traffickers. The government provided all suspected trafficking victims with short-term temporary shelter, medical care, and counseling. If these victims were determined by police to be able and willing to aid in a criminal investigation, they were given social security benefits, housing, medical treatment, legal assistance, social support, and vocational training. Australia's streamlined police investigation and immigration referral procedures resulted in an increase in the number of suspected trafficking victims referred for visa determinations. During the reporting period, immigration authorities granted 29 bridging visas to trafficking victims. In 2004, the Government also introduced a new witness protection visa exclusively for trafficking victims.
The Australian Government continued to expand its efforts to prevent new incidents of trafficking. The government coordinated closely with neighboring countries to investigate trafficking and funded awareness campaigns in source countries. Australian Government funding helped to establish specialized anti-trafficking law enforcement units and to develop prosecutorial capabilities in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Burma. The government demonstrated regional leadership by providing foreign aid to strengthen the capacity of regional police forces to investigate trafficking cases, supported legal education programs to assist lawmakers in improving their capacity to prosecute traffickers, and funded reintegration programs for trafficking victims. Within Australia, the government continued its multi-year community awareness project on trafficking. The Australian Government also widely publicized criminal cases against traffickers. Australia continued its cooperation with foreign governments in the local prosecution of Australian pedophiles or their extradition or deportation to Australia so they could be tried for the extra-territorial offense of sexual exploitation of a minor.