Australia  |  

Modern Slavery law passed

NSW to appoint Anti-Slavery Commissioner and require ‘slave proof’ supply lines

With the backing of Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the Modern Slavery bill 2018 has passed the NSW Parliament. The Public Service and private companies (with a turnover of $50 million) can be required to slave-proof their supply lines and an Anti-Slavery Commissioner will be appointed to monitor compliance, and educate the public.

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Laws restricting children forced into marriage and cybersex trafficking have been strengthened.

“I think many members of the community would be surprised by how high the figure is …” – Gladys Berejiklian

The Bill also confronts the crimes of human trafficking including slavery and slavery-like practices such as servitude, forced labour, debt bondage, organ trafficking, deceptive recruiting as well as forced marriage and childhood brides.

“The Legislative Council Committee’s report on Human Trafficking in New South Wales notes that since 2004 there have been more than 750 human trafficking and trafficking-related referrals to Australian authorities — I think many members of the community would be surprised by how high that figure is — and that the overall numbers of trafficked people in Australia may be considerably higher than that,” Premier Berejiklian said introducing the Bill in the lower house, the Legislative Assembly.

She added: “According to the Global Slavery Index of 2016, it is estimated that 45.8 million people worldwide and more than 4,000 people in Australia are victims of some form of slavery.”

It was the rarest of situations: the leader of a major party – in this case, the Liberals – introducing a bill sponsored by a minor party. The Premier praised Christian Democrat Paul Green, MLC, who has been the champion of the bill. “I thank the Honourable Member for his tireless efforts, both inside and outside the House. I also thank his colleagues and supporters throughout the State for the efforts they have made to help raise public awareness about this important issue.”

“All people are born equal under God and no one person should be owned like an animal.” – Paul Green

These anti-slavery groups include the International justice Mission, the Catholic and Anglican churches, and the Salvation Army.

“All people are born equal under God and no one person should be owned like an animal. Each person is worthy of full value and full respect,” Green said.

“I would like to acknowledge the many stakeholder organisations and individuals that have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of this abhorrent crime. Today their advocacy has borne fruit.

Premier Berejiklian also added a disturbing note about how everyday practices might be contributing to modern-day slavery: “Unfortunately, all of us have likely unintentionally been party to modern slavery in supply chains —for example, through the clothing we wear, the technology we use and the food we eat.”

“All consumers need to be educated to actively look at what they are wearing, eating and using to ensure that supply chains are slave-proof.

“The commissioner will play a critical role in raising awareness in business, government and among the public about best practice measures that we can take to ensure that supply chains minimise the risks of involving modern slavery.”

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