More than three billion dollars’ worth of imports that could be linked to modern slavery are brought into New Zealand every year according to new research by World Vision.
Every household spends on average 34 dollars a week on goods that are associated with either forced labour or child labour – that’s only slightly less than we spend on electricity a week.
“This research has an urgent message for New Zealanders, says World Vision national director Grant Bayldon “Right now there is no requirement for businesses to do even the most basic checks on their supply chains. This ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach means that it’s currently almost impossible for kiwis to have confidence that what we buy and use is slavery-free.
The research recommends the Government urgently introduce an effective Modern Slavery Act, which would require businesses to understand the risks of modern slavery in their purchasing, to report on those risks and take action to address them. The act would also give consumers more information about the products they are buying, who made them and how.
Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the EU and other countries are setting up laws that require companies to find out and disclose whether their products are supporting modern slavery. Some are going even further and banning imports linked to modern slavery from entering. This is forcing real change. As a country that aspires to treat all people fairly, we must do the same.
“None of us want to be an unwitting part of enslaving people”, says Bayldon. “Yet 40 million children, women and men are estimated to be in modern slavery worldwide right now – more than at the height of the transatlantic slave trade. They are making the products that are in our homes and workplaces. If demand for those products ends, so does modern slavery. We can all do something, right now, to help that happen.”
Read the imports research report here
Sign the petition calling for a Modern Slavery Act at signforfreedom.nz