In April I travelled privately to London to participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) program, which addressed the issue of human trafficking and child exploitation. What a week! I was able to outline the Federal Government’s concerns and to seek support from the Commonwealth to tackle the child exploitation industry. Since CHOGM, I have been working closely with organisations including Lumos, Save the Children Australia, Walk Free, Better Volunteering and ReThink Orphanages Network to raise awareness about orphanage voluntourism, and prevent children being trafficked into slavery to meet our desire to volunteer.
The term ‘modern slavery’ describes the most serious deprivation of individual liberty and individual freedoms. Modern slavery today encompasses human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices, servitude, forced marriage and forced labour. Each of these on its own is a serious exploitative practice and a grave violation of human rights. I am proud to have been the Minister responsible for the passage of the Modern Slavery Bill 2018.
The centrepiece of this legislation is the introduction of an annual modern slavery reporting requirement for large companies and other entities, like universities and large charities. The reporting requirement will apply to around 3,000 entities in the Australian market with annual revenue above $100 million.Companies will be required to report on modern slavery risks in their global supply chains, outline what measures they have put in place to eliminate those risks, and demonstrate how effective those measures have been.The global nature of modern slavery demands a global response, and no one country alone will ever be able to address this scourge. The Morrison Government’s Modern Slavery Bill will set a clear standard for action, which will help Australia deliver tangible results, and result in the freedom from slavery for millions of people globally.