Submission: Inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia

Amnesty International is concerned that there are an estimated up to 45.8 million individuals in modern slavery worldwide.  Modern slavery affects almost every sector, region and company.

Modern slavery covers a wide spectrum of crimes, but includes human trafficking, slavery and slavery like practices such as servitude, forced labour, forced or servile marriage, the sale and exploitation of children and debt bondage.

Modern slavery is often hidden across a number of supply chains. This fact alone makes addressing and reducing its incidence difficult. The global demand for cheap labour and the exploitation of vulnerable individuals to provide this labour, compounded by governance gaps in developing markets means that slavery continues to flourish.

The Australian Government has a chance to be a leader in the Pacific region in addressing modern slavery by establishing a legislative framework to eradicate it. This legislation should be underpinned by a thorough inquiry into the extent to which slavery is part of Australian supply chains and business practices.

Transparency, accountability, harm minimization and due diligence processes should be a central focus of any regime to address this complex issue.

Amnesty International has made a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Inquiry into a Modern Slavery Act (Submission number 154).

READ OUR SUBMISSION HERE

Background

In March 2016 Amnesty International released its report into the abuse of migrant workers building the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar for the World Cup 2022.  The report, The ugly side of the Beautiful Game: Exploitation of Migrant Workers on a Qatar 2022 World Cup site.  In November 2016 Amnesty International released its report into the Palm Oil industry, Palm Oil: Global Brands Profiting from Child and Forced Labour.