Date: 19.12.2017


Photo: Marissa Orton via Creative Commons

A coalition of organisations, including Global GreenTag International has formally stepped up to support a Statement of Support for the development of legislation to combat Modern Slavery and introduce a Modern Slavery Act in Australia.

The product supply chain is one of the critical areas that needs to be monitored to help reduce modern forms of slavery in not just developing countries but 1st world countries too.

In December, Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow has welcomed the call – across political lines – for a modern slavery act in Australia.

A sub-committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade tabled its final report on December 8, Hidden in Plain Sight, following its inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia.

The Sub-Committee, chaired by Chris Crewther MP, found new laws were needed to combat modern slavery. In particular, the Committee recommended that large businesses be required to identify and report slavery risks in their supply chains.

“Hidden in Plain Sight shines a light on modern slavery. The report sets out a reform process that is practical and realistic,” said Human Rights Commissioner, Edward Santow.

“Worldwide, we know there are more slaves now than at any time in human history. About half of the world’s 45.8 million slaves live in our region – the Asia Pacific.”

We have an obligation to address modern forms of slavery, which can include human trafficking, forced labour, wage exploitation and debt bondage.

“This can also occur here in Australia, where there are estimated to be at least 4300 people being exploited in slavery conditions.”

In October, the Commission brought together a diverse group of leaders, including Global GreenTag International, calling for new legislation to combat modern slavery in Australia. The leaders’ statement welcomed the progress that had been made so far, and set out principles to guide this reform process.

“By introducing effective modern slavery legislation, Australia can establish itself as a global leader in the fight against modern slavery," Commissioner Santow said.

“This is an opportunity to work cooperatively to address the modern incarnation of an ancient problem."

Ecospecifier Global CEO Mary-Lou Kelly says that she is very pleased to support for the establishment of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia and believes that every company should get behind it. 

“As a transparent product assessment label, we have a vested ethical interest to protect and preserve the environment and earth’s natural resources but also to assess policies and measures for the protection of people who both work with or who are affected by manufacturing processes and all along the product supply chain.”

According to the Global Slavery Index, modern slavery is a significant global human rights issue with an estimated 40 million people living in some form of modern slavery around the world, including human trafficking, servitude, child labour, sex trafficking, forced labour and debt bondage.

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