The Australian Catholic Anti-slavery Network has welcomed the introduction of legislation by Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus to establish an Anti-Slavery Commissioner. The World Council of Churches also supports this appointment.
The Commissioner’s functions will include engaging and supporting victims and survivors of modern slavery and supporting business to address risks of modern slavery practices in their operations and supply chains. A budget of $8 million over four years has been allocated to support the establishment of the role. “ACAN welcomes this major step forward in progressing the government’s anti-slavery commitments. The Australian Catholic Anti-slavery Network supports the legislation and looks forward to working with whomever is eventually appointed to the role,” said Alison Rahill, Executive Officer of Australian Catholic Anti-slavery Network.
The bill confers a number of important functions on the Commissioner.
The Commissioner will play a key role in educating and raising awareness of modern slavery in Australia. This includes delivering education and community-awareness-raising initiatives to highlight modern slavery risks and how those risks may be addressed across all sectors.
The Commissioner will support victims of modern slavery by providing information about government and non-government resources, programs and services. Importantly, the commissioner will engage with victims and survivors of modern slavery to ensure their voices inform the design of measures to address modern slavery.
The Commissioner will work to support business to address risks of modern slavery practices in their operations and supply chains.
The Commissioner will also have an important role in promoting and harnessing research capabilities, to support evidence-based responses.
The bill provides the Commissioner will be appointed through a merit based and transparent selection process, on a full-time basis for a term of up to five years.
The bill provides that the Commissioner will have discretion in performing or exercising their functions, and will not be subject to direction.
World Council of Churches
A new global resource from The World Council of Churches and The Clewer Initiative – encourages individuals and churches to respond to modern slavery in their communities.
The resource is part of an ongoing collaboration, which began in March 2020, between the World Council of Churches (WCC) and The Clewer Initiative. The collaboration has a particular focus on ending child slavery.
The two organisations saw the potential for creating a resource, similar to Woman in the Shadows, Children in the Shadows and Journeys (past Lent devotionals by The Clewer Initiative), but with an international focus.