Submission to Draft General Comment No. 6 (2022) on the Convergence of the Convention and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

Scarlet Alliance submission to the Committee on Migrant Workers regarding the draft version of General Comment No. 6 on September 12, 2022.

“We note that both the Global Compact and the Convention (via the work of the Committee) endorse measures to prevent ‘irregular or clandestine migration movements’ primarily via anti-trafficking measures. The approaches outlined in Objective 10 of the Global Compact promote the eradication of trafficking through actions such as ‘monitor irregular migration routes which may be exploited by human trafficking networks’, ‘share relevant information and intelligence through transnational and regional mechanisms’ and ‘apply measures that address the particular vulnerabilities of women, men, girls and boys, regardless of their migration status’.

At present, the Global Compact and draft General Comment address the risk of human trafficking at various points and yet do not address the human rights consequences of anti-trafficking measures upon migrant sex workers, including the risks of deportation and detention. We note that it is often the combination of the criminalisation of sex work, restrictive state migration policies and punitive anti-trafficking measures that increase migrant sex workers’ vulnerability to trafficking and exploitation. This combination also occurs within the context of migrant sex workers being included in anti-trafficking international discourse solely as ‘victims of trafficking’, which denies migrant sex worker’s autonomy as workers and functions to undermine our ability to access support without facing the presumption that we are victims. These approaches, along with others listed in Objective 10, represent a punitive and carceral approach to trafficking, which, in Australia, has resulted in migrant sex workers being targeted and surveilled by police and immigration authorities and subsequently detained and deported, sometimes under the assumption that we are ‘victims of trafficking’.”