Australia renews its commitment for “a future where no one is subjected to modern slavery”

April 7, 2022

Australia ratified the ILO 2014 Protocol on Forced Labour, hence becoming the 59th country in committing to take effective measures to put an end to forced labour.

Photo: Kings Canyon, Central Australia (© Gilian King)

On 31 March 2022, Australia ratified the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930. By doing so, Australia commits to take effective measures to prevent forced labour, protect victims and ensure they have access to justice and remedies, and prosecute perpetrators.

The ratification of the Protocol is “an important step by Australia to prevent and combat forced labour”, declared Amanda Gorely, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations in Geneva.

In 2018, Australia adopted its Modern Slavery Act, which imposes reporting requirements on businesses and other entities to publicly report on their actions to identify and address modern slavery risks in their global operations and supply chains. The Australian Government is also bound by this annual reporting requirement and must publish a modern slavery statement every year which details its own actions to identify modern slavery risks across the Government operations and procurement activities.

In addition, Australia adopted a new National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-25 that provides the strategic framework for Australia’s vision: “a future where no one is subjected to modern slavery and the human rights of all people are valued equally”. It is articulated around five national strategic priorities: Prevention; Disruption, Investigation and Prosecution; Support and Protection for victims; Partnerships, and Research.

“No country is immune to human trafficking or modern slavery and no country can address these crimes alone”, explains Amanda Gorely. Australia has indeed been the first Chair (2017-2019) and is an active member of the Alliance 8.7, a global partnership for eradicating forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour. The Alliance aims to accelerate efforts to reach the Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Australia also co-chairs the Bali Process Government and Business Forum (GABF) that brings together senior business leaders and government ministers across the Indo-Pacific region to contribute towards the eradication of human trafficking, forced labour, modern slavery and the worst forms of child labour.