Broadening the conceptualisation of human trafficking in Australia: the problem of marriage trafficking and how to respond

Stream: Responses to Violence and Exploitation: Emerging Strategies and New Directions
Date: Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Time: 1.00 pm – 2.45 pm


The lack of data and information on human trafficking in Australia and worldwide has implications for the way the problem is conceptualised, measured and responded to. While past Australian research has focused on commercial labour and sexual exploitation, this paper draws attention to trafficking that can occur in non-commercial contexts through the findings of the Australian Institute of Criminology’s research into human trafficking involving partner migration. Using narratives from migrant women interviewed for the research, the paper discusses the trafficking process, the nature of the women’s exploitative experiences, and the help-seeking behaviours they used to leave their exploitative situations. Importantly, the paper presents empirical evidence that challenges the traditional conceptualisation of human trafficking to Australia as either labour or sex trafficking, and concludes with evidence-based initiatives to prevent and respond to this manifestation of the crime. A modified version of this presentation will be delivered to the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology Conference in October 2014.


Samantha Lyneham (Presenter), Australian Institute of Criminology
Samantha Lyneham is a Research Analyst in the Australian Institute of Criminology's Violence and Exploitation Research Program. Her work involves monitoring human trafficking and slavery in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, including specific research on forced marriage, exploitation within intimate relationships, and the experiences, support needs and criminal justice concerns of trafficked Indonesians. Samantha has completed a Bachelor of Social Science (Criminology) from the University of New South Wales and a Postgraduate Diploma in Criminology from the University of Melbourne, and is qualified in applied social research and policy.

Kelly Richards (Presenter), Queensland University of Technology
Dr Kelly Richards holds a PhD in criminology from the University of Western Sydney. She has worked in the non-government and government sectors, including at the Australian Institute of Criminology, where she was a senior researcher for five years. She currently lectures in criminology at Queensland University of Technology. She has undertaken research on a wide range of criminological topics, but her main research areas are youth justice, restorative justice, and sexual violence. Her research on youth justice includes a national study on bail and remand for young people, and the development of national counting rules for youth recidivism.