Scarlet Alliance "Submission to the The Criminal Justice Response to Slavery and People Trafficking; Reparation; and Vulnerable Witness Protections" 2011

Scarlet Alliance strongly opposes the introduction of a criminal justice response, and/or special criminalisation for forced labour in Australia as an addition to current criminal justice responses to sex work and trafficking. Debt contracts are seen as an alternative entry means of travel by those trying to travel for work. Debt contracts are sought by individuals as a direct response to the increased difficulty faced by those travelling from countries that are seen as “source” countries for trafficking. Limiting migration options has had the unforeseen result of pushing sex workers towards debt contracts and increasing their vulnerability to debt contracts. Increased criminalisation of debt contracts is not a logical response to concern about people exploited by Debt contracts. Criminalisation and subsequent deportation has led to an increased dependence and at times worse debt contract situations being entered into as the criminal justice response does not address the debt that remains owing even after the worker is “rescued”.
If the aim of Government is to decrease reliance on debt contracts by those coming to Australia for work, there are methods that will provide these outcomes without criminalising the target group who are pushed into unfair work situations.