Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

News

  • Written by Yvette Selim, Interim Deputy Director, Anti-Slavery Australia, University of Technology Sydney

With China’s western-most province of Xinjiang being turned into a mass internment camp, last night’s ABC Four Corners program reported on the Chinese Communist Party’s alleged plans to put up to a million detained Uyghurs to work.

The exposé highlights how global supply chains make it possible for the clothes you’re wearing, and many other things you own, to have been made using slavery.

The program featured the cases of several women who say they have been forced to work in textile factories. According to China scholar Adrian Zenz, government documents reveal plans for “re-education” through labour. Satellite photos show what look like large warehouses close to detention camps.

Read more: Explainer: who are the Uyghurs and why is the Chinese government detaining them?

Target, Cotton On, Jeanswest, Dangerfield, IKEA and H&M are among the brands in Australia sourcing cotton from Xinjiang, according to Four Corners. In response to questions from the ABC, Target and Cotton On declared they would investigate their relationships with suppliers.

Four Corners’ forced labour exposé shows why you might be wearing slave-made clothes Activists protest the treatment of Uyghur Muslims outside the headquarters of the European Union, in Brussels, in February 2019. Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock

Modern slavery: a snapshot

For many of us it is hard to believe modern slavery is now more prevalent than at any time in history.

But the ubiquity and lack of accountability in global supply chains mean an estimated 25 million people around the world are in forced labour. A further 15 million are in forced marriage.

About two-thirds of the total number of people in modern slavery are in the Asia-Pacific region, where most Australian companies source their materials and products.

The problem is so widespread it’s unlikely any companies’ operations or supply chains are completely free of modern slavery.

Yet many businesses are unaware of what modern slavery is and what it might look like in their operations and supply chains. And some companies – and their customers – may be complicit in creating a “race to bottom” by demanding cheaper goods and services without checks on social (and environmental) credentials.

Four Corners’ forced labour exposé shows why you might be wearing slave-made clothes Anti-Slavery Australia Australia’s legal reforms This problem was recognised with Australia passing modern slavery legislation last year. The Modern Slavery Act 2018 requires businesses of a certain size to report their efforts to keep their supply chains slavery-free. The requirements came into effect this month. Modelled on the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015, Australia’s law requires businesses with a consolidated annual revenue of more than $100 million a year to publish an annual modern slavery statement. The statement must address seven mandatory criteria (including risks in the business’ operations and supply chains and the actions taken to address those risks). Read more: At last, Australia has a Modern Slavery Act. Here's what you'll need to know The government has the power to publicly name those that fail to comply, but not to fine or penalise them in other ways. It is hoped fear of shaming will be enough incentive to avoid the reputational, financial and other risks that might arise from public scrutiny. Without penalties, civil, shareholder and consumer activism will be crucial to motivate businesses. If nothing else, as shoppers we can become better informed about the risks in business supply chains and challenge companies and governments to do better through social media and other avenues. Each purchase of a good or service can be an ethical choice. More to be done In the end, the Australian modern slavery legislation is about ensuring businesses do their part to ensure the food, clothes and electronics we buy have not been made using modern slavery. Drawing on Anti-Slavery Australia’s legal casework experience with survivors of modern slavery, we also know victims aren’t just overseas. An estimated 1,500 people in Australia are victims of modern slavery. They are often migrants, who fear coming forward and are intimidated by the legal system. Read more: Human trafficking and slavery still happen in Australia. This comic explains how We continue to advocate for further improvements of the Modern Slavery Act, including for penalties and independent oversight. NSW has its own legislation that’s about to go under review and it includes an independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and penalties for up to A$1.1 million for failing to comply or making false or misleading statements. These would be welcome additions to the federal regime, along with more support for survivors, and better monitoring and data collection. We’ve taken a step in the right direction, but as the ABC Four Corners’ exposé indicates, there is much more to be done. Anti-Slavery Australia, based at the University of Technology Sydney, is Australia’s only specialist legal research and policy centre focused on the abolition of modern slavery in all its forms. For more information or confidential legal advice, contact www.antislavery.org.au. For information and advice on forced marriage, see www.mybluesky.org.au.

Authors: Yvette Selim, Interim Deputy Director, Anti-Slavery Australia, University of Technology Sydney

Read more http://theconversation.com/four-corners-forced-labour-expose-shows-why-you-might-be-wearing-slave-made-clothes-115462

'The essential is invisible to the eye': the wisdom of The Little Prince in lockdown

arrow_forward

As 'lockdown fatigue' sets in, the toll on mental health will require an urgent response

arrow_forward

That'll do, pig, that'll do: Babe at 25, a trailblazing cinematic classic

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Tracy Grimshaw

TRACY GRIMSHAW: Prime Minister, thank you for your time.    PRIME MINISTER: Great to be here. Thank you for the opportunity.    GRIMSHAW: A month or so ago, you probably thought that today's...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Reinventing The Outside Of Your Office

Efficient work is a priority in most offices. You need a comfortable interior that is functional too. The exterior also affects morale. Big companies have an amazing exterior like university ca...

News Company - avatar News Company

Kaspersky and Ferrari partnership: tailoring cybersecurity for an iconic brand

Kaspersky is commemorating the 10 year anniversary of its strategic partnership with iconic, global brand - Ferrari. The cybersecurity company is a sponsor of the brand’s Formula One racing team...

News Company - avatar News Company

Instant Steel Solutions Review

Are you keen on having the right guidance, knowledge and information about the right kind of steel purchases for your industries? If yes, then you are in the right place. There is no doubt that ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion