The passage today of the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Act 2012 marks a significant development in the human rights protections established under Australian law.
In a range of changes under the new law, forced marriage will be made illegal. Forced marriage is defined under the legislation as a situation where a person does not give ‘full and free’ consent to the marriage, because of the use of coercion, threat or deception.
“Australia has a legacy of slavery and slave-like conditions and these amendments recognise the breadth of exploitation through the new slaveries of forced labour and forced marriage” said Associate Professor Jennifer Burn, Director of Anti-Slavery Australia.
Lyn Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of Rosemount Good Shepherd, said “We join with Anti-Slavery Australia in commending the Australian Parliament for the passage of this Bill.”
The collaboration between Rosemount and Anti-Slavery Australia to research forced marriage in Australia continues, and updates are published regularly.