About a month ago, my inbox was flooded with some very exciting content. Australia’s first Modern Slavery Bill had been introduced into parliament. So what does this actually mean? Well, I am certainly no expert on this issue – I have neither studied law nor politics.
But in simple terms, the Bill requires that Australian companies of a certain scale must report on their efforts to hinder the exploitation of workers in their supply chain – stopping modern slavery so to speak.
What I am going to talk about is why it matters to us– the ordinary people living in this country.
Modern slavery in the form of bonded labour, sex trafficking and other horrendous kinds of exploitation is a reality for an estimated 40 million children, women and men in this world. Thousands of those people are in Australia. Numbers like this might make us feel disheartened, but as consumers we actually hold more power than we are aware of. Think about it! If I start to base my purchasing decisions on ethical values (meaning to choose items that protect vulnerable workers, pay them a fair salary and ensure fair work conditions), then companies that continue to exploit workers will start to lose out. The way I go about my day, where I buy my clothes, where I get my veggies from and even which electronic goods I purchase creates ripple effects that affect lives.
Our economy is driven by profit – the language of profit loss is the language big corporates understand.
Now this only becomes powerful when we all join in. Each person that starts to shape their decisions by the way it impacts our neighbours globally is going to be part of the change that we bring about together. At present, the proposed Bill does not include penalties for non-compliance. This means the public has to put pressure on those companies. Which brings me back to the choices each of us make every day.
The cumulative impact of our individual decisions can have a transformative effect on society.
The beautiful thing is, that if I choose to purchase items at shops like For Dignity, not only am I sure that nobody is being exploited, but I can also take confidence that my purchase will contribute to the empowerment of a wonderful person who deserves dignity and flourishing. So, join with me, as we make decisions that will speak a clear language to our concerns.
We’re in this together,
For Dignity Volunteer
Read this Guardian article to understand what it’s all about
International Justice Mission released a great article after the news were announced. They also published a helpful table to understand the difference between the different legislations introduced.
Also Freedom United published an insightful article.
Click here to understand the scale of modern slavery in Australia.If you would like to know more about how For Dignity is working towards the end of human trafficking and slavery, contact us