2019 Trafficking in Persons Report
The National Nature of Human Trafficking: Strengthening Government Responses and Dispelling Misperceptions is the theme of the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report. The report was released by the US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, and US Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, John Cotton Richmond, in a ceremony held in Washington DC. During the ceremony 8 TIP heroes were also acclaimed for their work against human trafficking. In launching the report Secretary Pompeo commented on this years theme:
“I think one of the biggest misperceptions about human trafficking is it’s always transnational. It’s not the case. Every individual and every individual country must confront this challenge on its own sovereign territory. Because in reality said traffickers exploit an estimated 77 percent of victims in their own home country.”
The country narrative on Australia acknowledges the passing of the Modern Slavery Act requiring businesses to report on slavery in their supply chains. The report noted that
“in 2018 the government investigated 179 suspected cases of trafficking (166 in 2017, 105 in 2016) and initiated prosecutions against two defendants, one for forced labor and one for forced labor and sex trafficking (six in 2017, five in 2016). Authorities continued prosecutions from previous reporting periods against 11 defendants. There were no convictions under the trafficking provisions of the criminal code in 2018 (five convictions in 2017, one conviction in 2016). The government also prosecuted 11 defendants for allegedly traveling overseas to engage in child sex tourism but did not report any convictions (four prosecutions in 2017). Authorities often opted to pursue labor or employment violations in lieu of trafficking charges, resulting in potential labor traffickers receiving only fines and other civil penalties that were inadequate to deter trafficking crimes.”
A number of recommendations were also presented to the Australian Government including:
- De-link the provision of services from participation in the criminal justice process, and increase services available to victims who are unable or unwilling to participate in the criminal justice process
- Increase multi-year funding to NGOs for robust victim protection services and prevention campaigns
- Consider establishing a national compensation scheme for trafficking victims
- Implement or fund awareness campaigns, particularly among rural communities and migrant populations vulnerable to forced labor
Along with other NGOs ACRATH has been advocating for these measures for many years.
The 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report can be accessed here.