Welcome to Sound Check!
This new monthly article will go over the big news in regards to modern slavery for the past month, garnished with our own opinions on the matters.
If we miss anything or you would like to know more on an issue, please let us know in the comments below and we will cover it in the following edition!
Australian Modern Slavery Act
August saw Australia take a huge legislative step forward with Parliament discussing a potential Modern Slavery Act.
The proposed legislation would see businesses become more accountable for the materials they are sourcing, which would require them to research fair trade alternatives.
The proposed legislation has been well received by Parliament, so hopefully we see the proposed changes implemented in the near future. Big brands such as ASOS and Adidas have also shown support for the move.
We give our full support to this move and urge the Australian Government to pass quality, thorough legislation in a timely manner.
There are an estimated 4,500 people trapped in forced labour in Australia. While this number may not seem significant, our businesses source substantial resources from the Asia-Pacific region; where there are tens of millions of people living in slavery through forced labour. The proposed legislation will have a significant impact in this number by making slave labour factories across the region obsolete.
Slavery in the UK
The UK newspapers have drawn attention to the surprisingly prominent use of slaves within the UK over the last few weeks, with the National Crime Agency stating that 130 slaves were discovered in May and June alone.
The situation was brought to light after the discovery of 18 people trafficked in the UK and forced to live in caravans with no running water, heating or toilets. The people responsible for this act is the Rooney family and we are happy to see that 11 members of the family have been convicted of trafficking this month.
The courts have heard that the Rooneys prayed on vulnerable people such as the poor and the homeless by promising them work. However, once the victims had become aware of the reality it was too late. In one of the most horrific cases, a man was forced to dig his own grave.
“In one of the most horrific cases, a man was forced to dig his own grave.”
This incident highlights that slavery isn’t just a problem in third world countries; it is a worldwide problem that needs immediate attention.
While writing this piece, reports of a Slovakian man and woman being arrested for keeping 20 men enslaved in the West Midlands are coming in. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this and any trials that result of these events.
If you are in the UK and are concerned about slavery in your community, please call the police on 101 or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.
Refugees Still Targeted
Oxfam has again voiced their concern about the vulnerability of refugees crossing the Mediterranean, often fleeing from the violence in Libya and arriving in Sicily.
Crossing the Mediterranean in overcrowded boats is a dangerous venture in itself, but those that survive the trip face further uncertainty when they arrive onshore.
Gangs and trafficking cells are known to be waiting for the refugees when they arrive, often tricking them to go with them. The refugees are then imprisoned by their captors and are subject to torture and abuse, with Oxfam reporting that 84% of those enslaved suffered inhuman or degrading treatment, extreme violence, or torture.
Oxfam is calling for Italian and other European authorities to reconsider policies that prevent people leaving war-torn Libya and instead ask these authorities to assist in their safe passage to the EU.
30 Million to None echo these calls, and also ask for the Italian government to increase their coastal presence to identify refugees that may encounter gangs and trafficking cells.
Big News at 30 Mil!
We’ve got some exciting news to wrap up our first Sound Check!
Unfortunately, we’re going to have to keep the specifics quiet until the finer details are sorted, but we can say that the news will involve one of Australia’s up and coming philanthropists, our own merchandise, and one hell of an adventure.