Recognising leadership in combating human trafficking
20 June, 2012
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (right) recognising Dr Anne Gallagher as a Trafficking in Persons Hero in Washington. Photo: US Department of State
A leading expert on Australia’s Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project—Dr Anne Gallagher AO—is the recipient of Australian and United States honours for her work.
Dr Gallagher was awarded Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) on June 11.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognised Dr Gallagher as a Trafficking in Persons Hero in Washington on 19 June.
The award recognised Dr Gallagher’s ‘ambitious efforts to strengthen legislative and criminal justice responses to human trafficking in Southeast Asia, and her substantial contribution to identify the core elements of a comprehensive anti-trafficking model that both prosecutes traffickers and protects victims’.
Dr Gallagher is acknowledged as a leading global authority on the law and policy of human trafficking.
From 2003, she has been instrumental in Australia’s support for an effective regional approach to combat trafficking in persons in the criminal justice sector, working closely with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project and its predecessor the Asia Regional Cooperation to Prevent People Trafficking project represent one of the longest running and comprehensive donor-funded criminal justice sector trafficking in persons interventions in the world.
Through these projects, Australia helped train more than 7,000 police, judges and prosecutors in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking crimes. An independent evaluation of the Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project found it contributed to ‘genuinely transformational development’ in criminal justice systems of ASEAN countries.
Dr Gallagher joined the United Nations (UN) as a career official in 1992. From 1998 to 2003, she was adviser on human trafficking to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the law and policy of trafficking. She has lectured at a range of academic institutions, published legal commentary for the UN and is the author of an award-winning book, ‘The International Law of Human Trafficking’.
In Washington to receive the Trafficking in Persons Hero award, Dr Gallagher said: ‘This is a great honour, particularly to be recognised along with such brave and selfless individuals who have sacrificed so much in their struggle against the exploitation of human beings for profit.
‘It is my hope that the award will draw attention to the importance of a strong criminal justice response to trafficking: one that seeks to end impunity and secure justice for those who have been exploited.
‘This award is a wonderful personal compliment, but I see it also as a tribute to what has been achieved in South East Asia over the past decade. While much remains to be done, great progress has been made and that deserves to be recognised.’
Australia’s regional activities
Trafficking in persons is modern day slavery, and must be countered in cooperation with our neighbours in the East Asia region. In Asia, where the problem is immense, it is estimated more than 700,000 people are trafficked annually.
In her technical advice to Australian programs, Dr Gallagher recognised the criminal justice sector as a critical agent for change and impact. Australia’s approach includes strengthening investigative and prosecutorial capacities, encouraging mutual legal assistance, and ensuring an approach consistent with international standards. By working closely with ASEAN, Australia is tackling this crime at both national and regional levels.
Australia’s approach has helped to advance cooperation and keep trafficking in persons on the agendas of countries throughout the South East Asia. With Australia’s support, ASEAN has become a leader in criminal justice responses to trafficking by developing common standards and resources that are uniting the region in the fight against exploitation.
‘Over the past decade, much has been done to shine a bright light on modern slavery,’ Dr Gallagher said.
‘There are now strong international laws in place that require every country to protect victims, prosecute offenders and work to prevent future exploitation. While progress is slow, many countries are now making a genuine effort in this direction. Australia has begun to take on an important leadership role.’
Preventing human trafficking
Australia is also working to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and communities to trafficking and labour exploitation by reducing poverty and increasing opportunities for education and sustainable livelihoods.
- Australia and the United States support MTV’s End Exploitation and Trafficking (EXIT) campaign (exernal website) to raise awareness, shift attitudes and behaviour and combat trafficking in persons in key countries including Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.
- Australia helps non-government organisations implement community-based anti-trafficking in persons and child protection projects, to prevent people being trafficked and to help victims. We also support the UN to bring together regional efforts under the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT).
- Australia also works to reduce the exploitation of vulnerable migrant workers and their families through the International Labour Organization’s TRIANGLE project (external website). TRIANGLE improves labour protection measures, increases community awareness of exploitative practices, promotes legal and safe migration and creates decent work opportunities.
US Trafficking in Persons Hero award
Each year, the US Department of State honours ten individuals around the world who have devoted their lives to the fight against trafficking in persons by naming them Trafficking in Persons Heroes in the US Trafficking in Persons Report. The US Trafficking in Persons Report analyses and assesses countries’ efforts around the world to combat trafficking in persons.
Last Reviewed: 16 August, 2012