When we started our internship with the Modern Slavery Unit, we had very little knowledge of modern slavery. We spoke to other students and found that similarly, many hadn’t heard about modern slavery or its relevance to Australia.
So, we decided to learn more. Equipped with a microphone and camera, we interviewed students around campus to find out what they knew about modern slavery in Australia.
Here are their responses.
How much do students know about modern slavery in Australia? Jiaying and Yuereng, Media and Communications students and Engagement Interns in the Modern Slavery Unit, ask students on campus to find out.
Our internship with the Modern Slavery Unit showed us that modern slavery is an urgent and widespread human rights issue. We learned that modern slavery describes some of the most serious violations of human rights, including human trafficking, forced labour, forced marriage, debt bondage, and the worst forms of child labour. These are all serious crimes in Australia.
Close to 50 million people are estimated to be living in modern slavery globally. That's twice the size of Australia's population, and an increase of 10 million people since 2017.
Like many of the students we interviewed, we weren’t sure if people in Australia experienced modern slavery, but we learned that in Australia alone, 41,000 people are estimated to be living in conditions of slavery. That’s more than double the previous estimates from 2018.
The alarming realities of modern slavery require immediate action, and are particularly relevant to the student population. Students are vulnerable to workplace exploitation, especially those who lack support networks, are from non-English speaking backgrounds, or are unfamiliar with Australian workforce laws.
It has been an incredibly eye-opening experience interning with the Modern Slavery Unit. We gained many insights into the University’s approach to addressing modern slavery risks and respecting human rights. We have a deeper understanding of the indicators and prevalence of modern slavery in Australia and what we can do to prevent it. We also feel empowered to encourage others to access support and educate themselves.
It is crucial for students to be conscious of the risks of modern slavery and to know what to do if it happens to you or someone you know. We encourage you to learn more by exploring the resources we have included below so that you can recognise modern slavery and raise awareness for its prevention.
Our everyday actions can make a positive contribution in tackling modern slavery. Here are some simple steps you can take today:
If you or someone you know is experiencing modern slavery, there are resources available to help and support you.
If you feel unsafe or are concerned for someone else's safety, you can: