During the Human Trafficking Committee we had the privilege of hearing from Andrew Forrest, Chairman of the Walk Free Foundation. One key recommendation that came out of Walk Free Foundation’s submission was the need to slave proof our supply chains.

Andrew Forrest came face to face with the reality of human trafficking when on a trip to Nepal with his daughter. They visited an orphanage where his daughter had previously worked at and realised that orphans previously there had been sold into trafficking rings throughout the Middle East. This led to Andrew committing to fight global slavery in all its forms.

Mr. Forrest established the Walk Free Foundation and the Global Freedom Network, which has seen 50 religious leaders sign the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery. This also led him to take a closer look within his own company and its supply chains, which was an easy and inexpensive process of sending affidavits to his suppliers. And considering the Global Slavery Index estimates more than 4,000 people are subject to modern slavery in Australia, and more than 700,000 people in Indonesia, it is an issue affecting our region that needs to be taken seriously. This looks like textiles and clothes sold in Australian stores, and food we eat in our restaurants that are imported from overseas coming from supply chains that use modern slavery. It is our ethical and moral responsibility to ensure we are not personally contributing to the proliferation of human trafficking.

It is my commitment to take the recommendations of the Committee to Parliament to ensure NSW is working towards the eradication of slavery, such as introducing guidelines and awareness programs to assist small and medium sized enterprises to identify slavery in their supply chains and to help monitor identified risks. Further to this I believe faith groups, NGO’s and Government bodies have a great opportunity themselves to stop and take stock of their own supply lines. I would encourage individuals, families and small business owners to be more vigilant about where we shop and source products from. This is a small step we can all take in working towards eradicating slavery.