12 October 2015

A University of Queensland criminal law professor will deliver the keynote address at the European Union’s Anti-Trafficking Day in Vienna, Austria, on 14 October.

UQ’s Professor Andreas Schloenhardt will tell European leaders and policy-makers that long-term solutions are needed to address the root causes of displacement, and create legal migration options for refugees and labour migrants.

“Currently, about 8000 migrants, including many refugees from Syria and Iraq arrive in Austria every day,” he said.

“Most migrants continue on to Germany, but Austrian authorities expect some 80,000 asylum applications in 2015 alone.

“The violent conflicts in the Middle East and regions in Africa are displacing millions of people, making them vulnerable to smugglers and traffickers.

“Traffickers prey on the desperation of migrants, many of them women, promising them a better life but leading them into situations where they are exploited.

“Particularly alarming is the growing number of unaccompanied minors who are at the mercy of their traffickers and are often forced into petty crime and begging.”

The EU Anti-Trafficking Day is hosted by the Austrian Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and the Task Force on Combating Human Trafficking in Vienna.

Now in its eighth year, the annual event brings together government agencies, national and international organisations, academic experts and the media to raise awareness of human trafficking and generate discussion on anti-trafficking policy.

Professor Schloenhardt was recently appointed to a Council of Europe committee to review international law related to migrant smuggling and develop proposals for new conventions and directives for the 47 member states.

His speech will follow opening remarks from Austrian Cabinet Ministers Ms Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Minister of the Interior, Mr Rudolf Hundstorfer, Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection and Dr Wolfgang Brandstetter, Minister of Justice.

Media: Danielle Koopman, d.koopman@uq.edu.au, 3346 0700