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No Penalty, No Progress: Urge Australia to make big business take action

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We know all too well that many workers in Asia endure forced labor to bring us the garments, foods, electronics and other goods we enjoy.

The good news is Australia is taking steps towards creating new modern slavery laws that could improve protections for vulnerable workers worldwide and we need your help to make it happen.  

Though a national law, its reach — like the supply chains of many companies — will go far beyond Australia’s borders and has the opportunity to improve the lives of people in forced labor. This is especially true in the Asia Pacific region, where nearly half of all Australia’s goods come from, and where an estimated 30 million people are living in slavery.1

How could this new law impact modern slavery globally? If Australia proposes a strong and robust Modern Slavery Act that sets new global standards in protecting victims and holding businesses accountable, other nations will have a higher bar to follow — resulting in better protections for victims and survivors both regionally and all over the world.

We must call on Australia to leverage its buying power and improve the lives of vulnerable workers by proposing a strong modern slavery law.

We campaigned alongside politicians, nonprofit organizations, faith leaders and anti-slavery activists in 2014 to ensure the UK created a Modern Slavery Act that included company reporting.2 We won then and we can do it again!

Sadly, the UK law does not include government purchases or make companies take action to fix problems, nor does it penalize companies that don’t comply.

Australia is looking to model its law after the UK, which risks it being weak, and we don’t want this to be a missed opportunity to help protect more victims and abolish modern slavery.

Join us in calling on Australia to be a global and regional leader in the fight against modern slavery.

  • November 29, 2018: Today the Modern Slavery Bill became the Modern Slavery Act passing into law! Our partners in Australia have a message for the Freedom United community: The petition made a huge difference and was quoted by Senator Singh in her speech. Whilst we didn’t get everything we asked, it is the strongest national law against modern slavery in the world!

  • November 15, 2018: Our partners at Stop The Traffik this week handed in tens of thousands of our names to Senator Linda Reynolds and Senator Penny Wong, who mentioned us and our petition in the Australian Senate!

  • November 1, 2018: Time is almost out! The Australian government has committed to passing the Modern Slavery Bill by the end of the year. As it passes through Parliament we are working to make sure it is strong enough to hold businesses to account. Read our joint submission here.

  • June 28, 2018: Australia’s Modern Slavery Bill is introduced to Parliament! We welcome this first step, particularly the inclusion of public procurement. However, some of our key asks, including an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, are missing from this draft. As the Bill passes through Parliament we will support efforts to ensure the Australian Modern Slavery Act is strong and effective.

  • Oct 17, 2017: Campaign Launches

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

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Cheryl Kirby
Cheryl Kirby
6 years ago

I would rather pay a little more for ethically sourced products. Slavery hurts us all.

6 years ago

In the way of a fair go – if it isn’t fit for any Australian to work under these conditions – nor should we accept goods made by those working in slave like conditions

Mat Tavendale
6 years ago

Slavery should be against the law everywhere

6 years ago

Not only do we need stronger laws we also need an easier tax system so it is possible for the farmers to employ and pay the pickers directly without having an degree in accountancy. No need to use an agency then. People need to be pay by the person they work for, on the farms. Agencies are the parasites that make unsustainable promises to venerable people to get the pickers hard earned money. If they would be payed by the farmers they wouldn’t be able to cash in that much!

Lorraine murphy
Lorraine murphy
6 years ago

Stoptrading with the countries that make shoddy goods that can kill

This Campaign made an impact with 57,198 supporters!

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