A question of bondage

The Age
Dr Anne Gallagher
July 15, 2008

What does it mean to be a slave in the 21st century? A court case in Australia is seeking to define the legalities of “owning” another human being, writes Anne Gallagher.

THIS week in Canberra, the High Court is considering what it means to be a slave in Australia in the 21st century. While the legal questions before the court are highly technical, the real issue is much more straightforward: under what circumstances will Australian law allow us to say that one person is effectively “owning” or enslaving another?

A portion of Australia’s sex industry is made up of “contract girls”: individuals brought over here from Thailand, Korea, China and other countries to meet Australia’s growing demand for commercial and “exotic” sex. Some are under no illusion about the work they are going to do. Others imagine — or are tricked into believing — that they will be employed as waiters, cleaners or bartenders. read more..

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