Australian Institute of Criminology

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New Report into the Methods and Motivations of Australian Human Traffickers

Media release

28 November 2013

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) today released a report Human trafficking and slavery offenders in Australia,  into the motivations and methods of 15 human traffickers convicted so far under Australian law.

The majority of convicted offenders in Australia have been women - of the nine trafficking schemes that have been successfully prosecuted, eight involved female offenders (some with male co-offenders).

In Australia offenders have typically exploited their victims through subtle methods of control rather than through the overt use of force or explicit threats of violence, although this was not always the case.

The reported cases of offending in Australia did not fit the perception that high-end organised crime was responsible for trafficking – and in fact  groups identified as having trafficked people into Australia have been relatively small, with many using family or business contacts to facilitate recruitment, movement and visa fraud.

The report also found that all the offenders were motivated by profit and the trafficking process often involved other criminal activity such as immigration fraud and money laundering.

“It’s important that law enforcement understands the characteristics of trafficking crimes in Australia to ensure policy is properly targeted. The report found that offenders often effectively partnered with trusted co-offenders from close knit, cultural or family groups and were able to rely upon their connections in the source country to facilitate human trafficking crimes,” AIC Deputy Director Dr Rick Brown said.

“While these practices can make detection more difficult, understanding the nature and motivation of these groups will help in the long run to stamp out this crime.”

The recently enacted Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Act 2013 expands the existing range of offences against slavery and human trafficking by establishing new offences of forced labour, forced marriage, organ trafficking and harbouring a victim.

FOR COMMENT: Colin Campbell 0418 159 525