Without Sex: Slavery, Trafficking in Persons and the Exploitation of Labour in Australia

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The differing approaches to the investigation of the cases of Aprint and Wei Tang set out in the introduction raise concerns that the focus in relation to offences of slavery and trafficking in persons has been too much on sexual exploitation. The UN Protocol and the offences set out in the Criminal Code (Cth) encompass forced labour and debt bondage that go beyond sexual servitude.

While Chief Justice Gleeson in Wei Tang pointed out that there may be a distinction between slavery and harsh and exploitative conditions, the majority decision opens the way for the prosecution of employers who control the movement of their workers and provide inadequate payment for their services.

Those who are victims of labour-trafficking and slavery are largely invisible, tend to work in isolation, often have limited proficiency in English and limited interaction with the general populace and are thus usually voiceless and vulnerable. If the purpose of the criminal law is taken to be not only to punish moral wrongs; but also to preserve and encourage social welfare, then forced labour, slavery and debt bondage for both sexual as well as other services should be subject to investigation and prosecution.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAlternative Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ID: 51643664