The Modern Slavery Bill 2018 is an important initial step for combatting Modern Slavery both in Australia and internationally. However, as it stands, the Bill has both strengths and weaknesses. Among its strengths are:
- the requirements for large organisations to work towards the eradication of slavery from their supply chains;
- the requirement for such organisation to provide an annual statement on their attempts to eradicate slavery and that this be available to the public;
- the government’s commitment to eradicate slavery from its own supply chains; and the legislation will be reviewed every three years.
Areas in which the Bill needs to be strengthened:
- the appointment of an independent commissioner;
- reducing the revenue threshold for companies required to report, aligning it with state legislation and avoiding multiple reporting regimes;
- directly addressing the issue of sex trafficking which is one of the key areas of slavery taking place in Australia;
- provision for the rights of those who have already been trafficked;
- that sex-‐trafficked persons be exempt from criminal prosecution in cases where the trafficked persons were forced out of fear, extortion, or threats of violence to them or their families, to engage in criminal activity.