Australian policies on trafficking in persons are a relatively recent development, commencing in about 2003.  The death of a victim of trafficking in persons in a Sydney immigration detention facility in 2001 was seen by many as a clear manifestation of the Australian Government’s failure to address the phenomenon, in particular the protection of victims, effectively.  The coronial inquest that followed this incident further, ‘underscored the lack of understanding of the problem of trafficking and highlighted failure in the Australian legal system to provide justice for the victims of trafficking.’[1]  This incident and its aftermath thus became a catalyst for more comprehensive policy development and law reform in this field.  It also coincided with the adoption of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children in 2000, which Australia signed on December 11, 2002 and ratified several years later. 

This page outlines the development and scope of Australian policies relating to trafficking in persons in the ten years between 2003 and 2013.  For further details and a complete analysis of this topic for the 2003–2013 period, see Andreas Schloenhardt & Jarrod M Jolly, Trafficking in Persons in Australia: Myths and Realities (LexisNexis, 2013) Chapter 4.