Media Releases

Unions, academics, and activists call for action on modern slavery

December 06, 2022

Research shows that millions of people worldwide are victims of Modern Slavery and the problem is only getting worse. South Australia isn't immune from this scourge. Unions, Academics and Activists are calling the government to stop it.

The Federal Government is currently conducting a review of the Modern Slavery Act 2018, and Unions, Academics and Activists want law reform to make Australian companies address forced labour in their operations and supply chains.

"It's 2022 but slavery exists in South Australia. It's a tough pill for most to swallow, but it exists within the supply chains of goods and services enjoyed by South Australians," said Dale Beasley SA Unions Secretary.

"Modern Slavery is insidious and takes many forms, from withholding of passports to threats of violence and/or sexual assault," said Beasley.

"Many industries are rife with forced labour and we know that know that victims of modern slavery clean our houses, they process our meat and pick our fruit," said Beasley.

"While modern slavery takes many forms right across the South Australian economy, it always involves the extreme exploitation of people," said Beasley.

"The prevalence of 'gig' and other forms of insecure work helps to cover-up just how widespread this exploitation is. It's integral that workers everywhere have access to their unions to provide a path out of exploitation," said Beasley.

Dr Katherine Christ and Professor Al Rainnie, from UniSA brought together a diverse groups of unions, academics, business groups and activists to work through strategies on how we can strengthen the Federal act and stamp out Modern Slavery in our community. You can read the worker-focused group's submission to the review here.

“This is a problem, and it's increasing rapidly. It's estimated that there are now 10 million more victims of modern slavery since 2016, and a recent investigation into slavery and slavery-like practices in South Australia has confirmed that it is a shameful reality in our state,” Prof Rainnie says.