Scarlet News:

Stakeholder comment on Government Response to the Nixon Review

Oct 11, 2023 | Media release, News

Government raids on workplaces are not a solution to exploitation, trafficking or modern slavery.

Joint statement by Scarlet Alliance, Human Rights Law Centre and Anti-Slavery Australia

Stakeholders call for more transparency in the development of immigration policy, clearer visa pathways for migrant workers, and improved access to justice for those who are exploited, impacted by modern slavery or in trafficking-like situations. Raids are not the answer. The Nixon Review Report and Government response do not address migrant worker vulnerabilities or human rights in Australia. It suggests concentrating power and decision making with Border Force agents, expanding the heavy handed approach of Operation INGLENOOK and even reassessing on-shore detention capacity in Australia. These punitive measures are at odds with the Parkinson Review.

The Nixon Review Report:

  • uses language inconsistent with human rights and best practice
  • contravenes the National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-25 which states “the National Roundtable acts as the Government’s primary mechanism to consult key stakeholders on modern slavery policy and legislative issues and reforms”
  • promotes racial profiling in the form of biometrics data collection off-shore “in selected countries” 

The Government response:

  • acknowledges sex workers should not be singled out, without explaining how Home Affairs will prevent government agents from continuing to unfairly target migrant women of Asian appearance
  • describes INGLENOOK as “effective”, overlooking the harms, fear, lost income, potential privacy breaches and human rights violations caused.

Relevant community groups, unions and stakeholders were not consulted. Experts from the human rights, immigration and legal sectors were not asked for input. The agencies consulted by Christine Nixon were government departments and police, not community. Nixon Review policy announcements have mostly come through media outlets and use unethical and inaccurate language. 

There have been big strides forward in industrial and human rights gained for all sex workers in state and territory jurisdictions. We won’t allow any part of the sex worker community to be left behind and miss out on those gains. Raids harm sex workers and are not a evidence based strategy. Mish Pony, CEO of Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association 

Detention and deportation is dehumanising and dangerous to our freedom of movement, and demonstrates gross disregard for our work and human rights. Deportation makes migrant workers more vulnerable to exploitation, not less. Mon, Asian Migrant Sex Worker Advisory Group

All workers deserve respect, security and protection of their rights at work – irrespective of visa status. Despite assurances, the government is yet to introduce basic visa protections that would allow all migrant workers to enforce their rights. These raids are not about protecting workers: they are about protecting the government’s image. Sanmati Verma, Acting Legal Director, Human Rights Law Centre