Slavery in Australia – Human Rights.
No matter how many times I am confronted by cases of people trafficking it is always shocking and disheartening. I would have thought that my background in victims of domestic violence, refugee law and criminal defense for over 20 years would have equipped me with a sufficiently thick hide, but these cases, particularly ones dealing with children are especially harrowing. (I am sure they effect me more since having kids of my own)
I am currently running an appeal – and it is causing me a greater number of sleepless nights then usual: A young woman came to me with a disturbing story of incest, exploitation and prostitution. She had been brought to Australia by two of her family members, ostensibly for a holiday. However shortly after her arrival she had her passport taken from her and was put to work at the family illegal brothel. (It is a common story and one that happens at a depressingly high rate.)
Similarly to cases of family violence – cases of rape, assault and emotional or psychological abuse that I regularly assist with – these are heartbreaking stories, but the thing that makes me plunge back into the muck of the seedy darkness of human experience is the belief that as lawyers we can make a difference – one case at a time. And that is a powerful incentive.
Lawyers can also, through groups too, make a difference. That is why the Victorian Immigration Solicitors’ Alliance: VISA wishes to encourage all lawyers and migration professionals in supporting the work done by the Law Council of Australia.
Many people are unaware of the extent “slavery” occurs in Australia. In 2018 alone, Anti-Slavery Australia helped over 123 people who had been trafficked to or from Australia, or had faced slavery-like conditions while in Australia, including forced marriage, servitude and forced labour.
Under Australian law, slavery is defined as
the condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised, including where such a condition results from a debt or contract made by the person.
So if you wish to learn more I would suggest you take some time to read some of the work done by the Australian Institute of Criminology https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/sb/sb16
These cases are confronting but important, and that is why I will continue to represent victims through my law firm and lobby for relevant changes in the law through groups like the Victoria Immigration Solicitors’ Alliance: VISA because it is the “dehumanizing” nature of these crimes: the commodification of the body of a man, woman or child, the theft of liberty that is such an abomination.
If you or anyone you know feels they are being exploited contact us today.