A coalition of organisations have united to release a statement of support against modern slavery, setting out key principles for the introduction of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia.
The Australian government earlier this year set up a joint-standing committee to investigate legislation to combat modern slavery, with more than 40 million people estimated to be living in some form of modern slavery worldwide, including 4,300 people in Australia. In August, the Coalition government proposed legislation that would make it a requirement for large businesses to report annually on modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.
Now a group of organisations, including the Australian Human Rights Commission, Anti-Slavery Australia UTS, Ausbil and the Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans, have thrown their support behind a Modern Slavery Act being introduced in Australia. The statement outlines how they would like to see this reform process guided.
“Slavery is more prevalent today than at any time in human history. As leaders representing civil society, business, investors, academia and faith-based organisations, we support a unified approach in addressing modern slavery. We support the introduction of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia,” the statement said.
“This statement sets out some key principles to guide this reform process. Addressing modern slavery requires a collaborative effort between government, business, civil society and people affected by slavery.”
Among these key principles was a call to establish an Australian independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and for the government itself to comply with these measures.
“Responsibility should be given to an independent organisation or individual to lead and coordinate efforts in tackling modern slavery, raising awareness and supporting organisations in effectively addressing modern slavery in their operations and supply chains,” the statement said. “This could be achieved by the establishment of an Australian Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner."