In late May, I was invited by RCSA to attend a business round table discussion on Modern Slavery, held at the NZ Human Rights Commission in Auckland.
While many of us are familiar with some of the conditions that can fall under the definition of Modern Slavery (migrant exploitation, debt bondage, child slavery, human trafficking, domestic servitude, forced labour), the overarching term is one that many in New Zealand may not be familiar with.
At the end of 2018, the Australian Government passed the first specifically targeted legislation on Modern Slavery, hopefully leading to increased awareness of the issue in our region.
This legislation includes an annual reporting requirement across all companies trading in Australia with a turnover of A$100M+ about their staff and sourcing procedures. While this is Australian legislation, for some of the larger New Zealand companies trading across the Tasman and that have a physical Australian operation, the legislative requirement also extends to them.
After opening remarks from New Zealand’s Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Saunoamali’l Karanina Sumeo , the main presentation was delivered by Amy Sinclair , a member of the Australian Government's Expert Advisory Committee on Modern Slavery.
Sinclair talked about the history and establishment of the legislation and the growing issues worldwide driving a need for this focus, adding she had supported a number of New Zealand’s largest enterprises in addressing commercial and cultural issues in this space.