Slavery still exists – here's how we're fighting it
In light of the University releasing its 2022 Modern Slavery Statement, Josh Glass reflects on his experience helping address modern slavery as both a current student and Research Assistant in the University's dedicated human rights team, the Modern Slavery Unit.
I came to the University of Sydney as an undergraduate Law and Arts student in early 2018. At the time, I had no awareness or interest in the global challenge of modern slavery. However since joining the University, I’ve become a keen activist for fighting against modern slavery – helping generate awareness among other students and help the University provide effective support for students at risk of exploitation.
It's said that modern slavery is hidden in plain sight. But, what no one tells you is that once you become aware of it you can't unsee it. Here are some facts that shocked me when I first learned them, and continue to shock me now:
These figures are disheartening to say the least. However, what has been encouraging is seeing the University make a genuine commitment and investment to fight modern slavery, especially as it relates to students.
My current role as a Research Assistant in the University’s Modern Slavery Unit has given me a front row seat to seeing this commitment in action, including:
Although there is a long way to go, I am convinced that slavery can become a thing of the past, if we all do our part to recognise its warning signs and speak up when we see them. Until then, I'm proud to be part of the continuing fight against slavery.
Your everyday actions can make a positive contribution to the fight against modern slavery. Here are some simple actions you can take today:
If you or someone you know is experiencing modern slavery, we're here to help and support you.
If you feel unsafe or are concerned for someone else's safety, you can:
Read the University's 2022 Modern Slavery Statement (pdf, 4.4MB), which outlines our commitment to respecting human rights, strategy to address modern slavery and actions taken to date.
 Consultation with University of Sydney academics: Dr Susan Banki, Dr Jyotirmoyee Bhattacharjya, Associate Professor Stephen Clibborn & Associate Professor Chris F Wright; Farbenblum, B. & Berg, L, International Students and Wage Theft in Australia, Migrant Justice Institute, UNSW Law & University of Technology Sydney, 2020.