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ANTI-SLAVERY VISIT TO KOLKATA, INDIA - Media Release, Friday 29 January 2018

SENATOR THE HON LISA SINGH

LABOR SENATOR FOR TASMANIA

DEPUTY CHAIR, PARLIAMENTARY JOINT COMMITTEE ON LAW ENFORCEMENT

Today in Kolkata Senator Lisa Singh will meet with stakeholders and organisations engaged in combatting slavery and trafficking in India.

She will participate in a roundtable, organised by Indian NGO ‘Changemantras’, with 15 participants who are key players in the anti-trafficking sector.

She will also visit a shelter home for survivors of slavery and trafficking. 

‘I hope to learn of experiences and knowledge on various approaches used to combat modern slavery and human trafficking in India. I also hope to learn of the challenges of institutional care for victims and what approaches are beneficial,’ Senator Singh said.

‘Although it is 2018, slavery remains an issue affecting tens of millions of people around the world. Slavery takes many forms including trafficking of children, debt bondage and worker exploitation.

‘Two-thirds of the 45.8 million people trapped in slavery worldwide are reported to be in the Indo-Pacific region and, unbeknown to most Australians, many are stuck in the global supply chains of everyday products and services that are available in Australia – victims of exploitation in private sector activities like manufacturing, construction and agriculture.

‘My recent work on the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade’s report ‘Hidden in Plain Sight: An inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia’, and as Deputy Chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Committee’s inquiry into human trafficking convinced me that the Australian Parliament must do everything it can to protect vulnerable individuals, wherever they are.

‘The committees found that there are alarmingly high numbers of overseas workers being exploited in Australia; women being brought here for forced marriage and victims who are unable to access support services. 

‘The Joint Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Committee’s final report backed Labor’s policy for an Australian Modern Slavery Act to improve transparency within business supply chains and called on the Government to ensure there are penalties for companies who breach the act. The report also called for the establishment of an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner – another Labor commitment.

‘No person wants to purchase goods tainted by slavery. No business wants slavery in its supply chains.

‘In 2018 Labor will be urging the Turnbull Government to commit to a Modern Slavery Act with penalties, and establish an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. Turning a blind eye is no longer an option,’ the Senator said.

MONDAY, 29 JANUARY 2018

MEDIA CONTACT:  TAIMUS WERNER-GIBBINGS 0429 820 344