Today, on World Day against Trafficking in Persons, I am pleased to announce Australia has joined a global awareness-raising initiative to fight human trafficking and its impact on society.
Joining the United Nations’ Blue Heart Campaign underlines Australia’s commitment to efforts to eradicate human trafficking and modern slavery, as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals.
More than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery, with over 70 per cent being women and children. This abhorrent criminal activity crosses borders and touches every corner of the globe, affecting some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Australia continues to lead efforts to eradicate these heinous crimes on a domestic, regional and global level.
Domestically, Australia has passed a Modern Slavery Act requiring the Commonwealth Government and more than 3,000 large businesses to publish annual statements on their actions to address modern slavery in their supply chains and operations.
Regionally, Australia is promoting partnerships through the co-chairing of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime.
In addition, Australia is delivering a series of development programs to help combat human trafficking in the Pacific and South East Asia, including the flagship $80 million ASEAN-Australia Counter Trafficking Program.
Australia plays an important leadership role in Alliance 8.7, a global partnership between governments, business and civil society to tackle these crimes.
In September, Australia will co-launch the Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking’s Unlocking Potential: A Blueprint for Mobilizing Finance Against Slavery and Human Trafficking, which aims to harness the efforts of global financial institutions.