26 September 2023

Anti-slavery laws fight back

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The Department of Home Affairs has released its first annual report on the implementation of the Modern Slavery Act 2018, finding a collaborative approach was taken to implementing the Act last year.

The Department said modern slavery described situations around the world in which coercion, threats or deception were used to exploit victims and undermine or deprive them of their freedom.

“The Act aims to combat modern slavery in the global supply chains of Australian goods and services by establishing a Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement (Reporting Requirement) for large business and other entities,” it said.

Tabled in Parliament by the Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs, Jason Wood, the Department’s report Implementing the Modern Slavery Act 2018, focused on the key actions taken to implement the Act in 2019.

“Modern slavery is an abhorrent crime that has no place in our communities or our supply chains,” Mr Wood said.

“This report showcases our work to implement the Act and eradicate modern slavery from the supply chains of our goods and services,” he said.

Mr Wood said a dedicated Modern Slavery Business Engagement Unit had been established in the Australian Border Force; detailed guidance for businesses and other organisations about modern slavery risks had been developed; Australia’s first national modern slavery conference had been convened; an extensive awareness-raising program was delivered; and d a free online helpdesk which supported almost 250 businesses set up.

He said the activities complemented Australia’s existing whole-of-community response to modern slavery, which was developed and implemented in consultation with the National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery.

“Over 2019, the Government focused on raising awareness about modern slavery and the Act with the business community and building entities’ capacity to understand and address their modern slavery risks,” he said.

“As entities begin reporting under the Act from 2020, our focus will shift to monitoring compliance and promoting best practice responses.”

The Department of Home Affairs’ 16-page report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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