Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
Address: Chemin des Fins 2, Case Postale 102, 1211 Geneva 19 - Telephone: 022 799 9100 - Fax: 022 799 9178

Human Rights Council – 17th Session

Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health and the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

Statement by Australia
1 June 2011

Australia thanks the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons for her report, in particular the detailed thematic analysis on the right to an effective remedy for trafficked persons. Australia agrees that an effective remedy is broader than the question of compensation, and would welcome the opportunity to further discuss the draft principles on the right to an effective remedy for trafficked persons with the Special Rapporteur.

Australia recognises its international legal obligations in relation to providing remedies for trafficked persons. Australia has implemented changes to the People Trafficking Visa Framework (Visa Framework) and the Support for Victims of People Trafficking Program in recognition of the particular vulnerabilities of trafficking victims. These changes include the provision of an extended period for reflection and recovery. Importantly this is available irrespective of the person’s willingness to assist law enforcement. Australia has also de-linked victim support from the Visa Framework, and removed the temporary stage of the Witness Protection (Trafficking) visa process, reducing it to a one-stage process and reducing the pathway to permanent visa for eligible trafficked persons by at least two years. Australia notes the continuing importance of balancing the needs of victims against the need for a strong criminal justice response which targets the perpetrators of this heinous crime.

Australia shares the Special Rapporteur’s view on the importance of measures which address the root causes of trafficking. Australia’s aid program aims to change the conditions which make individuals and communities vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of exploitation such as poverty, unemployment, corruption, gender inequality, lack of access to education and discriminatory cultural norms.

Australia also takes this opportunity as co-Chair with Indonesia of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime to acknowledge the valuable and constructive outcomes of the recent Bali Process Regional Ministerial Conference, held in Bali on 30 March 2011. At that meeting, Ministers noted the particular vulnerability of trafficking persons, especially women and children, and agreed on the importance of promoting a victim-centred approach to law enforcement. Ministers also agreed to reinvigorate Bali Process cooperation on practical measures and activities aimed at increasing the capacity of States to address trafficking in persons, including giving consideration to issues of victim assistance and protection. In line with this commitment, Australia is planning a technical experts meeting to consider practical measures to combat trafficking in persons.