Australia’s national policy should be directed to destroying human trafficking by 2030, Bishop Terry Brady told a parliamentary inquiry today.
Bishop Brady was giving evidence on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement in Sydney at their hearing on human trafficking. Bishop Brady is Chair of the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life.
‘Australians have a moral imperative to eradicate the injustice of human trafficking and modern slavery,’ Bishop Brady said. ‘If we know that the human dignity of people is being harmed in this way, we should do what we can to free them from that ill-treatment.
‘As an example to others and to spur reform in Australia, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney announced in March that it would slavery-proof its supply chains.
‘This announcement is significant as the Catholic Church is one of the largest purchasing groups in Australia after government.’
Bishop Brady called for a Modern Slavery Act that would include an Anti-Slavery Commissioner and require all large organisations operating in or doing business in Australia to provide an annual public statement on steps they are taking to eradicate slavery from their organisation and supply chains. This should apply not just to businesses, but also to governments and not-for-profit organisations.
‘The Australian Parliament has an important role ensuring governments commit to eradicate human trafficking and modern slavery from their supply lines,’ Bishop Brady said.
‘Australia adopted the goal of eradicating modern slavery, human trafficking and forced labour by 2030 as a participant in the unanimous General Assembly vote for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals on 25 September 2015.
‘Goal 8.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals commits all UN members to “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”’