Division 270

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Forced labour Slavery

Division 270 is the main division in the Code relating to slavery and forced labour. Division 270, through various sub-divisions, defines and criminalises slavery, servitude, forced labour, deceptive recruiting and forced marriage.

Slavery

It is slavery to exercise a right of ownership over a person. Amongst other things, it is an offence to reduce a person to slavery, possess a slave, engage in slave trading or enter into any commercial transaction involving a slave, including where there is recklessness as to whether the act or transaction involves a slave.

Servitude and forced labour

Servitude and forced labour offences are similar to the slavery offences. Forced labour is defined as using coercion, threat or deception to make a person provide labour or services, where a reasonable person in the position of the victim would not consider him or herself free to leave or cease providing the labour or services. Servitude is defined as occurring where, in addition to the conditions for forced labour, the victim is also to be significantly deprived of personal freedom in aspects other than the provision of labour and services. It is an offence to cause a person to enter into or remain in servitude or forced labour or to conduct a business involving servitude or forced labour.

Deceptive recruiting A person commits a deceptive recruiting offence if they engage in conduct with the intent of inducing a person to enter into an engagement to provide labour or services and deceives the person as to matters including their freedom to leave or cease providing services.

Forced marriage

It is an offence to cause a person to enter into a forced marriage and to be a party to a forced marriage. A marriage is a forced marriage if one party enters into the marriage without free and full consent.

An offence under division 270 will be considered aggravated if the victim is under 18, the victim is subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or the offender engages in conduct or is reckless as to conduct that gives rise to a danger of death or serious harm.

Notes

See also division 268 of the Code, which provides for offences against humanity, war crimes and other related offences. Offences include enslavement, deportation or forcible transfer of the population, sexual slavery and enforced prostitution.

In relation to a crime against humanity, the perpetrator’s conduct must be committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population. In relation to war crimes, the conduct must take place in the context of, and is associated with an international armed conflict.

Link to full text

Text

Division 270.3  – Slavery offences
(1)  A person who, whether within or outside Australia, intentionally:
(aa)  reduces a person to slavery; or
(a)  possesses a slave or exercises over a slave any of the other powers attaching to the right of ownership; or
(b)  engages in slave trading; or
(c)  enters into any commercial transaction involving a slave; or
(d)  exercises control or direction over, or provides finance for:
(i)  any act of slave trading; or
(ii)  any commercial transaction involving a slave;
commits an offence.
Penalty:  Imprisonment for 25 years.

(2)  A person who:
(a)  whether within or outside Australia:
(i)  enters into any commercial transaction involving a slave; or
(ii)  exercises control or direction over, or provides finance for, any commercial transaction involving a slave; or
(iii)  exercises control or direction over, or provides finance for, any act of slave trading; and
(b)  is reckless as to whether the transaction or act involves a slave, slavery, slave trading or the reduction of a person to slavery;
commits an offence.
Penalty:  Imprisonment for 17 years
[…]

Division 270.6A  – Forced labour offences
Causing a person to enter into or remain in forced labour
(1)  A person commits an offence if:
(a)  the person engages in conduct; and
(b)  the conduct causes another person to enter into or remain in forced labour.
Penalty:
(a)  in the case of an aggravated offence (see section 270.8)—imprisonment for 12 years; or
(b)  in any other case—imprisonment for 9 years.

Conducting a business involving forced labour
(2)  A person commits an offence if:
(a)  the person conducts any business; and
(b)  the business involves the forced labour of another person (or persons).
Penalty:
(a)  in the case of an aggravated offence (see section 270.8)—imprisonment for 12 years; or
(b)  in any other case—imprisonment for 9 years.

Note: On a trial for an offence against section 270.5 (servitude offences), the trier of fact may find a defendant not guilty of that offence but guilty of the corresponding offence under this section (see subsections 270.5(3) and (4)).

Law / 01st January 1997 / Australia / Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)

The Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (the Code) is Commonwealth or national legislation that provides: – a wide range of criminal offences, from offences relating to the security of the Commonwealth and the proper administration of Government to offences against humanity and dangers to the community; and – general principles of criminal responsibility.