News & Views

Australian Government announces stronger response to trafficking and slavery, including business initiatives

Today, the Australian Government convened the eighth meeting of the National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery.

Government Ministers responsible for aspects of Australia’s response to human trafficking and slavery, including the Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton, and Minister for Justice Michael Keenan, attended the Roundtable.

The event brought together key representatives from 10 government agencies and experts from 16 civil society organisations and industry bodies. First convened in 2008, the roundtable serves as the Government’s key mechanism for consultation on trafficking and slavery.

At the roundtable, it was announced that the Australian Government will strengthen its response to human trafficking and slavery following recommendations made by the Australian Government’s multi-stakeholder Supply Chains Working Group. Over the next 12 months, the Australian Government has said it will work collaboratively with business and civil society to:

  • create a suite of awareness-raising materials for business;
  • further consider the feasibility of a model for large businesses in Australia to publicly report on their actions to address supply chain exploitation;
  • examine options for an awards program for businesses that take action to address supply chain exploitation; and
  • explore the feasibility of a non-regulatory, voluntary code of conduct for high risk industries.

These initiatives aim to encourage and equip Australian businesses to take action against possible exploitation in their supply chains and ensure Australia continues to support efforts to combat human trafficking and slavery in our region.

In the broader business and human rights agenda, earlier this year the Australian Government announced it would conduct national consultations on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The GCNA, in partnership with DFAT, convened initial business roundtables to provide early input to the Government. The Government has now confirmed its intention to establish a multi-stakeholder advisory group to support business and human rights consultations and other actions.

More information on the Government’s approach to human trafficking.