Doctor Anne Gallagher disarms visitors with ugg boots, Earl Grey tea, home-baked cake and a mischievous smile, but she’s nothing but trouble for modern slave-masters and their profits.
The determined Bingi lawyer on Monday was named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours “for distinguished service to the law, and to human rights, as a
practitioner, teacher and scholar, particularly in the areas of human trafficking responses and criminal justice”.
For more than a decade, Dr Gallagher has turned international law on an industry worth more than $30 billion a year and said she would use the honour “to push these issues”.
She says the United Nations estimates 21 million adults and children are victims of human trafficking and forced labour in the sex, agriculture, seafood, clothing and other trades – not far short of Australia’s population.
“Can you imagine?” Dr Gallagher said. “They estimate the profits are around $32 billion per year and at least half of those profits are generated in advanced wealthy industrialised countries. This is not something you can just palm off. This is something that involves every country.”
Dr Gallagher spent 11 years with the United Nations in Geneva and since 2003 has spent much of her time overseas, leading the Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project, an Australian Govern-ment-funded initiative working with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).