The Modern Slavery Bill is currently being considered by Parliament. On 17 September 2018 there was a second reading during which a number of members gave speeches and put forward amendments and opinions. Mr Thistlethwaite, stated that as it stands, without amendments, ‘the Modern Slavery Bill 2018 doesn’t go far enough, and unfortunately, ignores the recommendations of several inquiries’. With regard to the issue he goes on to state that Australian businesses can, ‘play a major role in either facilitating modern day slavery or helping to eradicate it. Companies can be culpable by driving down supplier price or demanding ever-quicker production’. Mr Bandt, also identified that this issue is not just occurring in global supply chains but also in our backyards, with a story of clients he represented while he worked as a lawyer. Ms Plibersek said, ‘As a society, we won’t be able to end it unless we have laws dedicated to preventing it and to stopping it and resources to support that legislation’.
Read the hearing here: https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/
The Modern Slavery Bill is currently being considered by Parliament. On 12 September 2018 there was a second reading during which a number of members gave speeches and put forward amendments including the inclusion of penalties for non-compliance and the establishment of an independent commissioner. Ms O’Neil of Hotham stated, ‘tackling slavery and exploitation is absolutely core to Labor’s mission’ and that, ’Modern slavery is everywhere we look. The problem that we face is that we are not looking enough and that brings us to the bill before us’. She also stated, with regard to the importance of penalties for non-compliance, that, ‘For a long time, companies have argued that what their suppliers do is none of of their business, and we just believe that is not good enough anymore….I just want to make it absolutely crystal clear that complying with Australian law is not optional; it’s not optional for the ordinary citizen, it’s not optional for people that sit in this chamber and it should not be optional for big business’. There is indeed overwhelming support for the Modern Slavery Bill, Mr Crewther, who led the Modern Slavery inquiry, when speaking said, ‘this is indeed an issue that has brought together both the left and right not only in politics but in the broader community’.
Read the hearing here: https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/
This report details the work and findings of the work of the Issara Institute in Myanmar and Thailand on driving more ethical recruitment systems and empowering jobseekers with ‘facts, knowledge, and choices’ so that they can more successfully navigate their work journeys. The report details the positive role and high level of trust jobseekers have of Civil Society Organisations and the effectiveness of technology, specifically phone based, in empowering jobseekers. The report also highlights the recruitment fees most jobseekers personally incur and the urgency in making ‘zero fee’ recruitment for jobseekers the norm, as well as the issues with Myanmar and Thai government policies in improving ethical recruitment and jobseeker empowerment.
Read the report here: http://media.wix.com/ugd/5bf36e_4620b33fdea7485382683dd927a97378.pdf
In this blog Richard Branson expresses his and his company’s support to end modern slavery as well as gender-based violence (GBV) and explains why modern slavery and GBV are connected issues. Within the blog there is also a link to Virgin’s Anti-Slavery Policy and The B Team at Virgin whose mission is ‘to build momentum and action around this important responsibility in the private sector’. Richard emphasises the power of business and business leaders to end modern slavery and GBV.
Read the blog here: http://news.trust.org/item/20180516114812-ky9xe/
Verisk Maplecroft, a global risk consultancy firm, estimated that in 2017 modern slavery risks rose in 20 of the 28 members states of the European Union. Senior Human Rights Analyst at Verisk Maplecroft states, with regard to Europe, ‘The migrant crisis has increased the risk of slavery incidents appearing in company supply chains across Europe’. The migrant crisis includes the hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Syrian war.
Read the article here: https://www.maplecroft.com/portfolio/new-analysis/2017/08/10/20-eu-countries-see-rise-modern-slavery-risks-study/
In this report KnowTheChain looked at this question,’are the largest information and communications technology companies in the world doing enough to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains?’ Each company received an overall benchmark score, ranging from zero to 100 which was determined with regard to weighing seven themes equally: commitment and governance, traceability and risk assessment, purchasing practises, recruitment, worker voice, monitoring and remedy. In this study KnowTheChain evaluated 40 companies and the average benchmark score was 32 out of 100. Further, the two areas that were thought in this report to have the most impact on workers’ lives, worker voice and recruitment, were the lowest scoring themes.
Read the report here: https://knowthechain.org/wp-content/plugins/ktc-benchmark/app/public/images/benchmark_reports/KTC-ICT-May2018-Final.pdf
’Wherever people are more vulnerable, others seek to take advantage’. In this article Luke gives some examples of vulnerable people affected by modern slavery including those affected by Hurricane Katrina in the US, the Rohingya people who are currently amassed on the border of Bangladesh and Burma/Myanmar and people located near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan as the war continues. He also identifies some potential traffickers.
Read the article here: https://thenewsrep.com/104924/human-trafficking-in-times-of-significant-humanitarian-crises/
This article centres around a report from the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) , a non-profit company, that have ranked corporate performance on human rights. Steve Waygood, chair of the CHRB Board and chief responsible investment officer at Aviva Investors, says that issues such as modern slavery are correlated with financial performance and that companies that don’t engage in solving this issue ‘may risk restricted access to capital due to repetitional damage and regulatory backlash’.
Overall, however the report notes increased human rights reporting and commitment to transparency by companies and a “race to the top” culture on the issue of human rights.
Read the article here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikescott/2018/05/21/business-starts-to-take-human-rights-seriously-as-laws-and-benchmarks-start-to-bite/#8ce84907f5db
This paper examines the human rights issues in supermarket supply chains, shining a light on how worker and small-scale farmer inequality and suffering correlates with the power and financial reward of big business. The paper also highlights the correlation between supermarket’s power and governments pursuing ‘an agenda of trade liberalisation and deregulation of agricultural and labour markets’ before going on to identify actions that can be pursued to tackle human rights abuses in supermarket supply chains.
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International says in her foreword, ‘We all enjoy good food. Cooking our favourite ingredients or sharing a meal are among our simplest pleasures. But too often the food we savour comes at an unacceptable price: the suffering of the people who produced it.’
Read the paper here: https://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/bitstream/handle/10546/620418/cr-ripe-for-change-supermarket-supply-chains-210618-summ-en.pdf?sequence=5
This blog post is written by the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland OBE. This is an incredibly powerful, informative and inspirational read. The closing sentence states, ’We have incumbent upon us a moral duty to stop privileging price and profit over the basic wellbeing and rights of people who are just like you and me, but happen to have been born into different circumstances.’ Kevin Hyland focuses in particular on the role of the private sector in this blog post. He states, ‘too often in my role as Commissioner, I have been told that solving forced labour in the private sector is ‘impossible’, particularly with regard to the Global South. It is not; rather, this is wilful blindness to the solutions needed’.
Read blog here: https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/blog/tackling-modern-slavery-global-supply-chains