An Interpretive Analysis of Australia’s Approach to Human Trafficking and Its Focus on Criminal Justice Over Public Health

Emma George, Darlene McNaughton, George Tsourtos

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This interpretive policy analysis of Australia’s response to human trafficking aimed to uncover the ways that human trafficking is currently represented as a problem within policy and to critically examine the actions proposed and services provided to address human trafficking. Through Bacchi’s method of interpretive policy analysis, values, beliefs, assumptions, and proposed actions that underwrite policy were examined. An analysis of the ways in which “problems” are defined and represented revealed that the problem of human trafficking is represented as a criminal-justice issue rather than a health or human-rights issue. In addition, five silences were identified as things left unproblematized and not discussed as part of Australia’s response to trafficking. There are serious limitations to a criminal-justice approach. A public-health approach would have a stronger focus on supporting all victims of human trafficking over the long term, rather than only those who are prepared to engage with the criminal-justice system as victims of crime. A public-health approach could complement and improve the current response to trafficking and promote health and human rights and foster greater intersectoral collaboration.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)81-92
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Human Trafficking
    Volume3
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2017

    Keywords

    • Criminal justice
    • human trafficking
    • policy
    • public health
    • service provision

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