Commonwealth of Australia, House of Representatives, Hansard, Wednesday, 17 September 2018


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:

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:

‘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’.

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‘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.

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‘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:–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:

‘Seeing slavery in seafood supply chains’, by Katrina Nakamura et. al., Science Advances

Article description:

The authors of this paper won the grand prize in the Partnership for Freedom challenge 2016 for their work developing technological solutions that can identify and address slavery and trafficking in goods and service supply chains. They designed a five-point-framework, called the Labor Safe Screen, and collaborated with eighteen food companies to test the results of implementing the framework. The results showed that companies can reduce forced labor using the framework. 

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‘Modern Slavery Bill passes House of Representatives’, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, Assistant Minister for Home Affairs

Press release description:

Some items Senator Linda Reynolds, who welcomed the passage of the Modern Slavery Bill, noted in her media release:

  Australia will be the first nation to recognise orphanage trafficking as a form of modern slavery.

– More than half of the world’s victims are exploited in the Asia-Pacific region meaning that many of our products and services as Australians may have forced labour in their supply chains. The Bill will give Australians the opportunity to make more informed decisions about their purchases.

– The Bill will have international impact, improving workplace standards and practices.

Read the press release here

‘Survivor says world at trafficking ‘tipping point’, urges cash crackdown’ by Kieran Guilbert

Article description:

This article was published by Thomson Reuter’s Foundation, news and information company, who are part of a coalition to ‘boost the fight against financial crime and modern-day slavery’. Also, in the coalition is the World Economic Forum, Europol, a policing agency, and Rani’s Voice, an anti-trafficking enterprise.

Rani Hong, slavery survivor and founder of Rani’s Voice says that corporations, governments and charities must share data and work, particularly with regard to finances, to identify and stop human trafficking networks. The role of financial institutions, such as banks, is particularly critical in this space since traffickers rely on these institutions to move and launder money.

United States Banks Alliance, formed by Thomson Reuters Foundation, have launched a toolkit to help financial institutions uncover trafficking in their systems.

Read the article here

‘Ending modern slavery in business is possible. Here’s how’ by Matthew Friedman

Article description:

In this article, Matthew Friedman discusses the increasing importance for businesses to address forced labour in their supply chains; besides being ‘plain wrong’ there is legislation being enacted around the issue, a growing number of concerned lawsuits, and media and consumer attention

The questions then becomes, how to address forced labour in businesses’ supply chains. Friedman presents a framework ‘for a coordinated and effective private-sector response to slavery’ that does not make businesses ‘choose between what is right, what is sustainable and what is profitable’.  With a unified strategic plan Friedman says that slavery can be eliminated in private sector supply chains without a negative impact on profitability by 2028.

Throughout the article Friedman draws parallels between the mission to land man on the moon and the mission to eliminate supply chain slavery. He says, ‘like the man-on-the-moon goal, this is certainly ambitious, but it can be done.’

Read the article here