In June 2003, the committee decided to conduct an inquiry into trafficking of women for sexual servitude, with the committee tabling its report in June 2004. During the course of that inquiry the government introduced a National Action Plan to combat the trade, which included a range of measures such as the instigation of a legislative review across all Australian jurisdictions; the creation of an Australian Federal Police Transnational Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking Team; improved arrangements for cooperation between relevant Commonwealth agencies; and a new victim support system. In addition, the ACC Board issued a Determination authorising the use by the ACC of its special powers to investigate the trafficking trade.
Given the timing of the action plan’s release, the committee was unable to offer any assessment of the effectiveness of these reforms. However, with twelve months elapsed since the report, the completion of the legislative review, and the introduction of the Criminal Code Amendment (Trafficking in Persons Offences) Bill 2004 - which proposes amendments to the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 - the committee decided that it was timely to reassess the situation.
Accordingly, the committee invited key officials involved in the implementation of the action plan, to update the committee on the progress of the anti-trafficking measures. This occurred on Thursday 23 June. This short supplementary report provides an overview of Australia's efforts to understand and control the illegal trafficking of women for sexual servitude, and addresses several issues that emerged during the discussions with government officials.