Seafood, rubber gloves, oranges: the products you buy in Australia could be linked to modern slavery
- A new report into corporate reporting under Australia’s Modern Slavery Act has been released.
- Key sectors covered are horticulture, seafood, garments and gloves.
- Consumers are being urged to vote with their wallets.
And despite previous warnings of the risks to Australian companies sourcing these products, little has changed to improve the risks.
Putting a shrimp on the barbie for Christmas? Be warned
“Prawns are basically the Australian staple for Christmas Day,” said Martijn Boersma, the Director of the Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Program at the University of Notre Dame Australia.
A Chinese worker flaps and stows cotton at a cotton processing factory in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, 2013. Credit: Sun yong/AP
Those cotton T-shirts you’re buying? Chances are they could be implicated too.
Which Australian companies are at risk?
Australia’s horticulture sector has long been accused of being at risk of systemic exploitation and abusive working conditions, the report says. Source: AAP
“All our people are custodians of the iconic brand and so have a part to play in protecting our legacy. It is vital we get buy-in across the business and enable a culture where we can identify and act upon any risks.”
‘Vote with your wallet’: What consumers can do
“Consumers should absolutely engage with companies that aren’t pulling their weight to really mitigate and address modern slavery risks,” she said.
Should companies be penalised?
She said the report calls on the government to make it compulsory to act on modern slavery links and “not just report them”, penalise failures in risk mitigation, and to appoint an independent anti-slavery commissioner.
“Without policies, laws, and penalties in place these industries seem to continue to profit from slave labour.”
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