Labor is demanding the Government urgently implement the NSW Modern Slavery Act, which remains in limbo despite being passed by Parliament more than two years ago.
Representatives from more than 100 non-government organisations, faith groups, business and community members have united online for a virtual rally organised by NSW Labor, Unions NSW and Be Slavery Free. The groups and organisations are also supporting a petition to bring the issue to a debate in the NSW Parliament.
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay said the failure to bring this law into force is unacceptable and cannot continue.
“The Modern Slavery Act is a significant piece of legislation that brought Parliament together. It tackled modern slavery in the supply chain here in NSW and established an Anti-Slavery Commissioner and new offences on slavery,” Ms McKay said.
“All it takes is the stroke of a pen by the Premier to proclaim this bill but two years on we are still waiting. We could have been a leader in modern slavery protection in the world, instead we’re left without a state law.
“Every day this law sits idle is a day the most vulnerable in our society are at risk. This goes against the will of the Parliament and goes against the expectations of the community.”
Secretary of Unions NSW Mark Morey said: "Many people who were already economically insecure have been made even more vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NSW Liberals must pass this legislation to address exploitation and stop modern slavery in the supply chains of the goods we purchase."
The Co-Director of Be Slavery Free Carolyn Kitto said: “We have tried to have a conversation with the Government. We have sent a letter to the Premier with 117 signatures and have had no response.
“This act is urgently needed for people in slavery. The people who are forced to harvest cotton to make our clothes; the girls forced into early marriage; the children forced to perform unspeakable acts to be downloaded on internet; people who have their organs removed and sold. These are the people this Act protects. We need urgent action.”
Modern slavery refers to a range of exploitative practices including forced labour, debt bondage and human trafficking. The NSW Modern Slavery Act requires companies with a turnover of more than $50 million to publicly report modern slavery statements, including details of the steps taken to eliminate slavery from their supply chains.