(Photo found on flickr with an interesting story.)
An earlier post "Slavery and the Criminal Code" provides details of a R v Tang a High Court decision in which Mrs Tang was found guilty of slavery, which is one dimension of the larger issue of human trafficking.
A recent paper given at the University of Queensland "Trafficking in Persons in Australia: Myths and Realities" by Andreas Schloenhardt explains why it is so difficult to successfully prosecute people charged with trafficking people for sexual exploitation and slavery. (22 September 2008.)
Human trafficking is defined in the Trafficking Protocol as "the recruitment, transport, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a person by such means as sthreat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud or deception for the purpose of exploitation". The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has a useful section of "frequently asked questions about Human Trafficking". This provides succinct answers to questions that may be of interest to legal studies students who are investigating human trafficking as a human rights issue.
One of the questions often asked is "How widespread is human trafficking?". There is a link to the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, February 2009. It is a large publication, but there is an executive summary at the start and the table of contents will direct you to this information.
The Australian Federal Police have established a Transnational Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking Team. The Annual Report of the AFP for 2007-2008 highlights the results of significant investigations and two important sentencing decisions (see page 34). However, in one of those, R v Kovacs  QCA 417, the earlier successful conviction of a couple who were charged with trafficking under section 270.3 of the Criminal Code (Cth) was set aside and a new trial ordered.
In R v Wei Tang the High Court referred the matter back to the Victorian Court of Appeal for a rehearing on the sentence given in the original decision. The Court reduced the sentence from 10 years to 9 years with a non-parole period of five years rather than six.
If you are looking for statistics and other data, one of my colleagues located this website jointly compiled by the University of Queensland and the TC Beirne School of Law, dated 2009.
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