UQ and UZH team up to unpack human trafficking and migrant smuggling

24 May 2017

Law students from The University of Queensland and the University of Zurich have joined forces for UQ’s flagship human trafficking and migrant smuggling working group.

Seven students from UZH’s Faculty of Law travelled from Switzerland in February to participate in the week-long intensive course, seizing the rare opportunity to collaborate with nine of their UQ counterparts.

Human trafficking working group

Co-course coordinator Professor Andreas Schloenhardt said the course allowed students to compare and contrast laws and policies related to human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Australia and Switzerland.

“Our students examined important international crime and criminal justice issues in both countries, including the nature and limitations of domestic and international criminal law, criminal procedure, law enforcement and judicial measures and their application in real-life cases,” he said.

The students undertook research, liaised with experts in the field – including policy makers and government – and presented their findings and practical recommendations to an academic audience.

Professor Schloenhardt first introduced the course to UQ students in 2010, and quickly established international partnerships with the University of Vienna in 2014 and the University of Zurich in 2016.

This semester, UZH Professor Frank Meyer served as co-course coordinator alongside Professor Schloenhardt.

Professor Schloenhardt said the course was very collaborative and fostered close relationships with students and academic staff overseas.

“The course combines independent research with team-based learning,” he said.

“We encourage students to hold in-class debates and lead discussions, participate in a peer review process, and work closely in small teams.

“I’m thrilled that the course has led to strong links and improved communication with our colleagues in Europe.”

UQ law student Mollie O’Connor said the intensive course was a valuable and eye-opening experience.

“We had the opportunity to research a topic related to human trafficking or migrant smuggling in detail, and both present and write an in-depth research paper on it,” she said.

“This meant we gained a deeper understanding of a subject than we would in other courses.

“I particularly enjoyed the intimate, intensive nature of the course, and the opportunity to meet Swiss students and learn about their legal system. I now have not only an understanding of human trafficking law, but also stronger skills in both research and legal writing.”

Her peer, Brittany Engeman said she would encourage other students to apply for the working group.

“I found the course very enjoyable,” she said.

 “The presentations, although a bit daunting at the time, gave us a chance to get feedback and ideas from others in the group before we went away to write our final paper.

“The subject matter was also very topical and engaging, and it was great that we could choose our own research topic and pick an area that interested us. It was also useful to learn from other students who had studied their individual topics in such depth, which meant we could have very interesting and informed discussions.”

The upcoming Semester 2 course will welcome students and faculty from the University of Vienna, Austria to UQ. In Semester 1, 2018, the course will be offered in conjunction with the University of Zurich; applications will open in September.

For more information, visit the Migrant Smuggling Working Group page.