MEDIA RELEASE: WALK FREE FOUNDATION WELCOMES THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT’S COMMITMENT TODAY TO RATIFY THE ILO FORCED LABOUR PROTOCOL

Once ratified, the Forced Labour Protocol will require the Australian Government to take important steps including:

  • Ensure that all laws relevant to forced labour, including labour laws but also victim support and compensation laws, apply to all workers and all sectors of the economy in Australia.
  • Protecting migrant workers in Australia from abuse and fraud in the recruitment process.
  • Supporting due diligence by both the public and private sectors on supply chains.
  • Ensuring that victims of forced labour are not penalized for things they did while under the control of criminals.

Walk Free Foundation Chairman and Founder, Mr Andrew Forrest, said: “We welcome the Australian Government’s commitment to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol. They have shown strong leadership in their commitment to eradicate modern slavery including their recent announcement of their intention to introduce a Modern Slavery Act with a focus on supply chain transparency.”

“We can and will eradicate modern slavery but it demands business and government collaboration. The Forced Labour Protocol further cements this, as it requires governments to support due diligence from the public and private sectors in supply chains.”

There are an estimated 40 million people in modern slavery. The Global Estimates of Modern Slavery, recently released by the Walk Free Foundation and International Labour Organisation, in partnership with the International Labour Organisation, note that this includes 25 million people in forced labour and a further 15 million in forced marriage. The estimates confirm that more than 70 per cent of those affected are women and girls.

ENDS

Media enquiries: Martina Ucnikova, mucnikova@minderoo.com.au; +61 428 997 881