Commonwealth of Australia, House of Representatives, Hansard, Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Hearing description:

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/

‘Driving Behaviour Change of Recruiters, Suppliers, and Job Seekers Toward Ethical Recruitment, Critical Roles of Global Buyers & Grassroots Actors’, by Rende Taylor, Lisa Maria and Ohnmar Ei Ei Chaw, Issara Institute, 2018

Report description:

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

‘2018 information and communications technology benchmark findings report’, Know the Chain

Report description:

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

‘Business Starts To Take Human Rights Seriously As Laws And Benchmarks Start To Bite’, by Mike Scott, Forbes

Article description:

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

‘Ripe for Change’, by Robin Willoughby and Tim Gore, Oxfam

Paper description:

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

‘Tackling modern slavery in global supply chains’, by Kevin Hyland OBE, The British Academy

Blog description:

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

‘The UK Modern Slavery Act and EU Timber Regulation: Synergies and Divergence’, by Duncan Black and Jade Sanders, Forest Trends

Report description:

This report analyses the similarities and differences between the UK Modern Slavery Act (MSA) and the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) with regard to learning from ‘EUTR experiences to inform implementation of the more recently enacted MSA’. The EUTR is concerned with prohibiting illegally sourced timber products in the EU and requiring those that source timber products to exercise due diligence in sourcing. Both the EUTR and the MSA are focused on improving buying behaviour standards with regard to reducing undesirable practices, specifically modern slavery and illegal logging.

Read the report here: https://www.forest-trends.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/doc_5709.pdf

‘Australia imports $12bn worth of goods at risk of being made by slaves – report’ by Ben Doherty, The Guardian

Article description:

In this article Ben Doherty examines and gives specific examples of slavery globally and domestically. With regard to the slavery of people within Australian borders, the article states that the highest risk industries in Australia, are the hospitality, construction, agriculture and sex industries (and notes that it also occurs in private homes and within families). With regard to the slavery of people internationally for Australian use, the article states that the highest risk products are electronics, garments, rice and cocoa.

Read the article here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/20/australia-imports-12bn-worth-of-goods-at-risk-of-being-made-by-slaves-report?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

‘Towards the urgent elimination of hazardous child labour’, International Labour Organisation

Report description:

This report from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) builds upon a previous report from the ILO published in 2011 called ‘Children in hazardous work: What we know, what we need to do (ILO-IPEC, 2011)’. This new report is said to  be based on new evidence ‘aiding better understanding of why this worst form of child labour persists and uncovering new interventions that might have more chance of eliminating it’. It was estimated by the ILO in 2017 that there were 152 million children in child labour and that almost 73 million of these were engaged in hazardous work.

Read the report here: https://www.ilo.org/ipec/Informationresources/WCMS_IPEC_PUB_30315/lang–en/index.htm?mc_cid=01c926b680&mc_eid=4743844cbe

‘Modern Slavery’ by Emily Scott, Wellbeing for Women

Article description:

Emily is a volunteer with Stop the Traffic and is currently working in Cambodia at the United Nations Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

In this article Emily looks at the influence of governments, businesses and consumers on modern slavery, contextualises modern slavery, and discusses what needs to be done to combat this human rights violation. She particularly focuses on the role of business, highlighting that of the world’s top 100 economic entities, 69 are corporations, and just 31 nation states, demonstrating the immense power of business in the world. Also noted is the importance of legislation in this sphere and the impact of consumer perspective.

Read the article here: https://wellbeingforwomenafrica.rit.org.uk/modern-slavery