Modern slavery is not something that happens ‘over there’

modern slavery

Joseph Auga Matamata, 28 July, was sentenced in the Napier High Court to eleven years in jail after being found guilty of ten charges in human trafficking and thirteen charges in dealing in slaves.

“Modern slavery is not something that happens ‘over there’ that we don’t have to think about,” Grace Forest, co-founder of Walk Free, told Vogue Australia in 2018.

“If we care about the people who make our products, we can make a difference.”

Fashion has been identified as one of five key industries implicated in modern slavery.

But Fashion is not the only culprit.

A Walk Free report published last year, says one in 150 people are living in “modern slavery” in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands,

Murky Waters, A qualitative assessment of modern slavery in the Pacific region says exploitation was fuelled by widespread poverty, migration, and the abuse of cultural practice.

The report identified several forms of slavery including human trafficking, forced labour, sexual exploitation, and forced marriage in all eight countries studied: Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

Murky Waters draws on existing peer-reviewed and grey literature, Walk Free’s 2019 assessment of action taken by governments to address slavery.

It also makes use of information gathered through semi-structured interviews with anti-slavery stakeholders in eight countries in the region.

“We have heard reports of signs of modern slavery among migrant workers in the construction industry, stemming from increasing foreign investment in Pacific Island communities,” senior researcher Elise Gordon told Stuff in an interview.

“Also fishing, a major industry in the region, brings with it a poor track record as being notorious for forced labour and human trafficking for labour exploitation.”

Modern slavery was likely to increase as climate change exacerbated poverty and migration, Gordon said.


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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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