A decade of collaboration to combat human trafficking and slavery

  • Joint media release

Today's Australian Government National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery marked the 10th anniversary of this important forum.

The Roundtable brings together representatives from 12 government agencies and experts from 14 civil society organisations and industry bodies. Collaboration through this forum has helped to drive significant law and policy reforms to Australia's response to human trafficking and slavery over the past 10 years.

Today's meeting focused on the final report of the Roundtable's Labour Exploitation Working Group, plans to develop the next National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery 2020-24 and ways to improve victim support.

The Roundtable focused on key developments in a major year of progress in Australia's efforts to combat these heinous crimes. This year, the Australian Government announced a new $80 million investment to counter human trafficking in the ASEAN region over the next 10 years.

The Australian Government also promoted partnerships to tackle human trafficking and modern slavery as chair of the global partnership to eradicate forced labour, Alliance 8.7, and co-chair of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime. The Government worked with civil society partners to launch the Smart Volunteering Campaign to tackle overseas orphanage tourism.

On 28 June 2018, the Government introduced legislation to establish a Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement. This will require more than 3,000 large businesses to publish annual statements on their actions to address modern slavery in their supply chains and operations.

In a world-first, the Government has committed to lead by example by also publishing an annual statement covering Commonwealth procurement.

The Government has also enhanced access to vital support for victims of forced marriage and committed to disrupt and prevent forced marriages by developing a model for a Commonwealth Forced Marriage Protection Order this year.

The Government will provide victims of forced marriage with up to 200 days of support through the Support for Trafficked People Program, without victims being required to contribute to a criminal investigation or prosecution.

Forced Marriage Protection Orders will complement Australia's existing criminal offences and provide a flexible civil remedy for people in, or at risk of, forced marriage.

In November 2017, the Government announced that it will ratify the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930. The Migrant Workers' Taskforce, chaired by Professor Allan Fels, will shortly report to Government on tackling migrant exploitation in the workplace.

This Taskforce builds on action taken by the Government to increase penalties for employers who exploit their workers. We have also boosted funding for the Fair Work Ombudsman by $20.1 million over four years to support vulnerable workers.

The Turnbull Government is continuing to show international and regional leadership on combating human trafficking and slavery.

More information about Australia's efforts to combat modern slavery is available at https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about/crime/human-trafficking

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