Anti-Slavery Australia is the only specialist legal research and policy centre in Australia focused on the abolition of slavery, trafficking and extreme labour exploitation. Anti-Slavery Australia grew out of a research focus on human trafficking at the UTS Community Law Centre from 2003 and continues to be part of the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology, Sydney.
The Centre’s early research was about Australia’s response to the first international convention dealing specifically with human trafficking, the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. The Centre also provided access to legal advice and representation to trafficked women and had a strong community education role. Between 2005 - 2007, the Centre’s existing work was strengthened by an association with Jenny Stanger to further develop the Centre’s community outreach focus and community-based networks. The Centre’s existing research and client focus and increased community outreach became the UTS Anti-Slavery Project.
The Centre continued to grow and develop innovative programs, teaching and research. The University recognised the Centre’s research, advocacy, teaching and community focus and the Anti-Slavery Project became Anti-Slavery Australia in 2011.
Anti-Slavery Australia is dedicated to the abolition of slavery, servitude, slavery-like practices such as forced labour and forced marriage, human trafficking and extreme labour exploitation.
Our aim at Anti-Slavery Australia is to promote and provide leading research, policies, law reform, professional practice, education and advocacy supporting:
- the human rights of trafficked, enslaved and exploited people;
- access to justice and legal representation to Anti-Slavery Australia clients;
- the dissemination of information about human rights abuses affecting trafficked, enslaved and exploited people;
- the implementation of effective media and communication strategies to build awareness of trafficking and slavery in communities;
- the development and maintenance of relationships with government, media, unions, academics, non-government and community organisations.
We provide access to comprehensive legal advice, representation and assistance to people who have experienced trafficking or slavery in Australia, including advice about immigration, citizenship, human rights, employment law, family law, criminal law, victims’ compensation and more. We also advocate for changes to laws and policies that will improve the protection of the rights of people who have been trafficked or enslaved.
The legal staff at Anti-Slavery Australia are qualified solicitors as well as registered migration agents. The values of client confidentiality, the provision of timely and accurate legal advice, professional ethics and best practice are of the utmost importance to us.
Our Director, Associate Professor Jennifer Burn, is an immigration and administrative law specialist. She represents Anti-Slavery Australia on the Australian Government National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery and is the author of leading immigration law texts as well as many articles and submissions about how Australia can improve its response to human trafficking and slavery.
Our team also includes Joanne Pugsley – Lawyer and Migration Agent, Ruth Chandler - Centre Coordinator, Beau Neilson – Fundraising and External Engagement, Jo Wilton - Forced Marriage Project Manager, Dr Emma Christopher - Researcher, as well as law students, law graduates, volunteer social workers and recent graduates.
We rely on the contributions of volunteers from a range of disciplines – law, social work, media and communications and management, to name a few. We are grateful to our many volunteers and supporters who join with us in this human rights work. If you are interested in being involved with Anti-Slavery Australia, please click here. We are always happy to hear from people willing to volunteer their time and talents to this important cause.
We are also grateful to the Australian Minister for Justice and the Australian Attorney-General's Department for a current grant to raise awareness of all forms of trafficking and slavery in Australia and to contribute to a legal service for victims of human trafficking and slavery.
In addition, we are in receipt of a grant from the City of Sydney to develop awareness raising materials and translate the materials into community languages for distribution through online and print media.
Our supporters have also included ACRATH, the Brigidine Sisters, Sisters of Charity Foundation, Mary McKillop Foundation, Mercy Foundation, the Mary Potter Foundation, Mallesons Stephen Jaques and Clayton Utz.
We convene the Sydney Community Trafficking Network, which brings together a range of community-based groups working collaboratively to address trafficking, pool resources and consult on the development of policies.
Some of our other activities include:
- New research priorities on forced and servile marriage, deceptive recruitment and the supply chain;
- Research on the patterns and practices of slavery and human trafficking in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region;
- Skills-based practical training on slavery and human trafficking issues;
- Outreach, education and media advocacy; and
- Awareness raising of all forms of trafficking and slavery.
Youth Advocate Program
The Anti-Slavery Australia Youth Advocate Program is a research based, student-led program inspiring UTS student volunteers to engage with the community to raise awareness about the human rights abuses of forced labour and forced marriage. Outreach programs are targeted to school groups, universities, newly arrived migrant and refugee communities and the broader community. The Youth Advocate Program is an important part of the outreach and awareness raising activities undertaken by Anti-Slavery Australia.
The Advocates raise awareness of forced marriage and forced labour by establishing peer to peer connections, facilitating workshops and seminars to communities and schools, and through the distribution of Anti-Slavery Australia’s educational resources. These activities are conducted by two teams; the Forced Labour Youth Advocate Team who focus on issues of trafficking, slavery and work rights, particularly amongst recently arrived international students, and the Forced Marriage Youth Advocate Team who focus on creating awareness of forced marriage and the potentially devastating effects a forced marriage can have on the future wellbeing of an individual.
Through this Program, the Anti-Slavery Australia Youth Advocate teams have reached over 1500 students and young people in NSW, including primary, high school and university students and informed them of their rights through informative seminar programs and workshops and the distribution of educational resources.
In September 2014 the Anti-Slavery Australia Youth Advocates were awarded a UTS Human Rights Award (Elizabeth Hastings Memorial Award for student contribution) in recognition of their incredible commitment to human rights through their peer-to-peer education and advocacy, raising awareness of forced labour and forced marriage in Australia.
 Anti-Slavery Australia legal service is conducted by J.M Burn Solicitor. J.M Burn Solicitor has been seconded to the Anti-Slavery Australia by the UTS Law Faculty to provide legal advice and representation to trafficked people.