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Targeted review of offences for human trafficking, slavery and slavery like practices in Divisions 270 and 271 of the Criminal Code

The Law Council is grateful for the opportunity to respond to this targeted review of offences for human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices in Divisions 270 and 271 of the Criminal Code, prescribed in a Schedule to the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (the Criminal Code), to which the Australian Government committed in Action Item 19 of the National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020–25.1

Human trafficking, including slavery, slavery-like practices and people- and organ-trafficking offences, are contrary to international law; often target highly vulnerable victims; and involve significant breaches of human rights. The Law Council has expressed strong support for all efforts to prevent such practices and has emphasised the importance of ensuring that Australia’s response to these issues should reflect international best practice and be consistent with Australia’s international legal and human rights obligations.2

By way of background, the Law Council is a key civil society stakeholder in relation to the broader statutory review of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (Modern Slavery Act), which is being led by Professor John McMillan AO. The Law Council’s submission to that review recognises that the Modern Slavery Act has had a positive impact by increasing Australian entities’ understanding of modern slavery and the need to improve their risk management practices.3

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