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Forced and servile marriage in the context of human trafficking

2 April 2013

Servile marriage involves a person being sold, transferred or inherited into marriage.

New offences in the Criminal Code 1995 recently passed by Parliament are designed to protect adults as well as children who are forced into marriage by either the person they are marrying, or another person such as a parent. These offences apply to marriages that occur in Australia, as well as to marriages that occur in another country that involve Australian citizens.

Trafficking in persons is a crime that impacts many countries around the world, including Australia. Internationally, trafficking in persons crimes are prohibited under the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (the Trafficking Protocol), supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational and Organized Crime.

This two-page paper argues that the inclusion of forced and servile marriage in the concept of human trafficking is an important step in ensuring that current protections are made available to this group of victims.