Stop The Traffik Encouraged By Modern Slavery Legislation

Stop The Traffik Encouraged By Modern Slavery Legislation

Anti-slavery coalition Stop The Taffik Australia have presented a petition to the Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Alex Hawke.

The petition featured 40,099 signatures from 168 countries and calls for Modern Slavery legislation.

Mr Hawke has announced that the Turnbull Government will introduce Modern Slavery legislation “during the first half of this year.” Mr Hawke also pledged to enact this legislation by the end of 2018, and to ensure an even playing field for Australian businesses to comply.

“The race to the top is on,” Mr Hawke said.

The Walk Free foundation estimates that 4,300 people are currently enslaved in Australia through forced and bonded labour. Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop previously committed the government to ending modern slavery “as soon as possible”.

Stop The Traffik “encouraged”

Stop the Traffik’s Carolyn Kitto told Insights that Assistant Minister Hawke, “made some announcements which we were encouraged by.” She added, however, that Stop The Traffik wanted the final legislation to feature penalties for companies that failed to report or who gave false reports about their supply chains.

“We’re not saying there should be penalties for if they find (evidence of slavery in their supply chains),” Ms Kitto said.

Stop The Traffik also want to see the legislation to establish an independent antislavery commissioner, a measure that has been endorsed by Labor and the Greens but has yet to be announced by the Turnbull Government.

Ms Kitto says Stop The Traffik will continue to campaign for these measures as the legislation is prepared and “well and truly on the agenda.”

Stop The Traffik is offering a workshop for businesses and entities needing to get ready for the Modern Slavery Act. More details and registration can be found here.

The petition was circulated by the Be Slave Free Network, Freedom United, and the Stop The Traffik Australian Coalition.

Image: Fuzz Kitto and Carolyn Kitto present Alex Hawke with the petition 
(Image courtesy of Stop The Traffik)

Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor

 

 

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1 thought on “Stop The Traffik Encouraged By Modern Slavery Legislation”

  1. This is an encouraging development. UFS and the Ethical Investments Monitoring Committee have been keenly interested in this issue for some time.

    In support of the “Stop the Traffik” initiative, one of the equity managers that UFS partners with in our funds, Ausbil, has been very active. They attended a workshop with the Federal Shadow Minister for Justice and Business on the establishment of the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) last year. They have made two submissions (one stand alone and one through the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment, PRI) to the Federal Government on MSA and co-drafted a response to the initial report on MSA together with the Human Rights Commission. Ausbil has engaged directly with the Attorney General’s Department on the introduction of a modern slavery act and provided education on slavery from an investor perspective to investors as well as companies through presentations at industry forums, such as UN Global Compact and conferences for retailers.

    In addition to this UFS has joined the Responsible Investment Association Australasia working group on Human Rights that will support this initiative of the MSA.

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