Outstanding commitment to human rights
The Law Council of Australia has recognised UTS Law’s Professor Jennifer Burn for her outstanding work in Migration Law and her commitment to helping those most in need of legal assistance in this area - awarding her Outstanding Migration Lawyer of the Year at their 2020 conference.
Considered Australia’s leading anti-slavery lawyer, Jennifer has spent her professional career working to abolish human trafficking and slavery in all its forms.
She represents men and women; including Australian girls taken out of the country for forced marriage, women forced into domestic servitude and people trafficked to Australia for the purpose of slavery.
Jennifer says she has always been committed to human rights law:
As soon as the UN provided the first internationally accepted definition of human trafficking in 2000, I began researching the impact in Australia of the new Trafficking Protocol and Australia’s emerging response - as a lawyer and migration agent I started representing women trafficked to Australia.
For the past 17 years, Professor Burn has headed up the organisation which became Anti-Slavery Australia (ASA) in 2011; a unique legal and migration centre within the Faculty of Law. The centre provides free legal and migration advice as well as representation for people who have experienced trafficking and slavery in Australia.
Under Jennifer’s leadership ASA has directly influenced the development of policies relating to the protection of victims. This advocacy helped ensure the passing of Modern Slavery Laws both Federally and in New South Wales.*
As a testament to her contributions and expertise, Jennifer was appointed the Interim Anti-Slavery Commissioner of NSW - a position established to assist with the implementation of the state’s Modern Slavery Act.
Professor Burn continues to be actively involved in the development of Australia’s response to human trafficking and slavery. She was a foundation member and has an ongoing role with the National Roundtable on Human Trafficking which was formed in 2008.
Jennifer has presented at the United Nations - during the 2006 hearing on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) - as well as at other international conferences.
The Law Council’s Georgina Costello SC says Professor Burn has answered the call to arms for so many migrants in need of legal assistance:
Over many years, Jennifer has made an enormous difference to migration law and policy in our country and generously shared her extensive knowledge of migration law with so many others in the legal fraternity.
Professor Burn says she is incredibly honoured to receive the award not just as recognition of her own work but because it also reflects on the work of the entire ASA team:
With the passage of the Modern Slavery Act there is more attention on modern slavery within big supply chains, and greater awareness about modern slavery. Yet modern slavery takes many forms and the legal team at Anti-Slavery Australia continues to do incredible work to build safety and security for men, women and children exploited in slavery, servitude, forced labour and forced marriage.
*It’s estimated that more than three thousand Australian businesses are required to comply with the new Modern Slavery laws and the ASA will soon be offering a short course to assist businesses with these compliance obligations.