20 October 2011

A UQ human trafficking awareness campaign launched in Australia has led two University of Queensland students to the United Nations in Vienna to present to a global forum on ways to combat this growing transnational crime.

With the assistance of a UQ Advantage Grant, School of Law students Jarrod Jolly and Paris Astill-Torchia travelled to Vienna in early October to present the University’s ‘Be Careful What You pay For’ campaign to the United Nation’s Working Group on Trafficking in Persons.

The students were accompanied by Associate Professor Andreas Schloenhardt, who leads the UQ Human Trafficking Working Group. Earlier this year the group produced a multi-media campaign to highlight consumer-driven aspects of trafficking in persons by using a series of posters, postcards and a short film.

The campaign was presented to State Parties to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children during the official UN proceedings.

It also featured at a side event hosted by the Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations in conjunction with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Permanent Missions of Mexico and Serbia.

Ms Astill-Torchia, who presented on international best practice guidelines for the development of trafficking awareness campaigns, described the trip as an “incredible opportunity to experience and participate in the development of UN law and policy.”

Mr Jolly, a 5th year Law and Arts student and the UQ Working Group’s senior research assistant, said the United Nations visit was recognition of students’ efforts in bringing these types of crimes to public attention.

“It was a great chance to promote the hard work of the students in the UQ Working Group who contributed to the design and production of the awareness campaign,” he said.

The students’ presentations received an overwhelmingly positive response from the international representatives in attendance.

The Working Group on Trafficking in Persons, established by the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, met in Vienna, Austria, between 10-12 October 2011 to discuss topics including victim identification, trafficking for the purpose of organ removal, and international best practice in relation to awareness campaigns.

During their visit, the UQ delegation also attended the launch of UNODC’s international human trafficking case law database - to which UQ’s Human Trafficking Working Group is a contributor.

The UQ Working Group is comprised of research students led by Associate Professor Andreas Schloenhardt with support from Dr Melissa Curley of UQ’s School of International Relations and Political Science.

The group focuses on the exposure and analysis of cases and responses to trafficking in persons in Australia and continuously monitors national and international developments on these issues.

For more information visit the UQ Human Trafficking Working Group website.
Media: Associate Professor Andreas Schloenhardt (07 336 5619, a.schloenhardt@law.uq.edu.au) and Melissa Reynolds (07 3365 2523, m.reynolds@law.uq.edu.au)