Australian Institute of Criminology

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Trafficking of women for sexual purposes

Research and public policy series no. 95

Fiona David
ISBN 978 1 921185 87 8 ISSN 1326-6004
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology; July 2008

Abstract

As a new crime type, knowledge about trafficking in persons is still emerging. International and Australian initiatives encompass trafficking for sexual purposes, with issues surrounding transnational migration for work, exploitation and sexual violence, and supporting victims. Research on trafficking in persons is challenged by the small number of cases and concomitant responses. This report provides insight into the issues, barriers and challenges of responding to trafficking of women in Australia through the learned experience of victims' and offenders' contacts.

Victim detection, identification and reporting, and prosecution of traffickers, underlies anti-trafficking responses of compliance and law enforcement through collaborative immigration and policing initiatives. Differing responses by state and national jurisdictions to detect, investigate and prosecute trafficking cases highlight issues of the complexities of transnational trafficking cases, victim support programs, provision of legal advice, prior inconsistent statements and the credibility of witnesses. These underpin the need for more research to characterise the victims of trafficking, reconceptualise the visa framework, provide victim support services, ensure laws protect witnesses and improve policing education.