The Impossible Victim: Judicial Treatment of Trafficked Migrants and Their Unmet Expectations
Alternative Law Journal, Vol.35(4), pp.217-222, 2010
10 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2018 Last revised: 23 Oct 2018
Date Written: December 1, 2010
This article discusses the voluntary decision-making of potential migrants inherent in the majority of situations of trafficking and trafficking-like working conditions, through the lens of Australian jurisprudence and particularly R v Dobie, the first and thus far only conviction for human trafficking in Australia. The author responds to the tendency of courts to consider it impossible for an individual whose decision-making contributes to their eventual exploitation, to be a victim. To the contrary, the author proposes a contractual approach to the issue of trafficking and argues in favour of courts utilising evidence of victims negotiations with their traffickers and their expectations concerning conditions of work in destination countries as a benchmark against which to assess redress. Such an approach also values the agency of female migrants who seek economic betterment abroad. The author explores the philosophical limitations of recognising ones agency and the difficult task of balancing an individuals desire for a better life and the opportunities that work abroad may offer with the limits society places on the ability of individuals to give up their freedom.
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