The global trade of trafficking men, women and children into the sex industry and labour markets has been the subject of public and international concern. The 2003 parliamentary briefing paper titled Trafficking and the Sex Industry: from Impunity to Protection provided an early overview of the growing global trade in human trafficking for the commercial sex industry and discusses some of the difficulties in reaching consensus on the extent of the problem in Australia.
In 2003, the Federal Government announced a whole-of-government package to address crimes committed against humanity; specifically human trafficking. As part of this package, the AFP received additional funds to strengthen its capacity to detect, investigate and provide specialist training in relation to:
Division 270 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 which makes it an offence to possess a slave or exercise over a slave any powers attaching to the right of ownership, engage in slave trading or enter into any commercial transaction involving a slave.
- Sexual Servitude and Deceptive Recruiting: Division 270 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 further makes it an offence for a person to cause another person to enter into or remain in sexual servitude or conduct any business that involves the sexual servitude of others. There are also offences relating to the deceptive recruitment of a person to perform sexual services.
- Trafficking in Persons and Debt Bondage: Division 271 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 makes it an offence to traffic persons, whether internationally or domestically. There are also offences relating to debt bondage of persons, forced labour and the trade in human organs.
In response to the package, the AFP established the Transnational Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking Teams (TSETT). On 30 May 2011, TSETT was renamed to the Human Trafficking Teams (HTT) to better reflect the full extent of human trafficking. HTT consists of a National Coordinator based in Canberra and teams located in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The AFP Annual Report contains information on the activities of these teams.
Australia's response to human trafficking reflects our obligations as party to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) since 2004 and its supplementary Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children since 2005.
As part of the Bali Process, the AFP also provides training to law enforcement agencies in the region to combat people trafficking and related offences. Australia is a co-chair and founder of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime. Historically the Bali process has primarily been focused on People Smuggling matters, but has been expanded to address Human Trafficking.
In 2007, the Federal Government renewed its commitment to combating people trafficking and its related offences with funding extended to AFP over a further four years. The AFP supports the whole of government focus on preventing further instances of trafficking, prosecuting the perpetrators and protecting and supporting victims. AFP HTT undertakes investigations into human trafficking for the purposes of sexual and or labour exploitation, organ harvesting and slavery.
The AFP provides a specialised Human Trafficking Investigation Program for members working in HTT as well as police serving with interstate and international jurisdictions. The program provides investigators with the knowledge and skills to undertake specialist investigations in this crime type.
HTT in accordance with the revised Australian Policing Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Persons 2011-2013 and in cooperation with its State and Territory Policing partners and other Government of Australia agencies is increasing efforts to combat trafficking for labour exploitation.
Anti Human Trafficking Community Resource
The Anti Human Trafficking Community Resource provides a comprehensive and useful reference resource that will contribute to improving partners' and stakeholders' understanding of each other's respective roles in caring for victims and cooperatively preventing, disrupting and investigating people trafficking offences.
Anti Human Trafficking Community Resource (PDF, 2MB) (HTML, 138KB)
University of Queensland Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign
The Australian Federal Police is a supporter of the University of Queensland's Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign launched 1 June 2011. This campaign, entitled 'Be Careful What You Pay For' seeks to dismantle common stereotypes of trafficking in persons and highlights the demand aspect that drives people trafficking in Australia.
Reporting human trafficking
Assist the AFP in combating this global problem. Use our online form to report information regarding human trafficking for the purposes of sexual and/or labour exploitation, organ harvesting and slavery. Alternatively call 131 AFP.