Report finds pandemic has increased risk of modern slavery

Members of the Anti-Slavery Taskforce (from left) Alison Rahill, Jenny Stanger and John McCarthy QC with Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP in 2019 (Sydney Archdiocese/Giovanni Portelli)

In its first annual report, released today, the Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network has found the risk of modern slavery has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Source: Sydney Archdiocese.

ACAN warns that migrants, refugees and temporary visa holders now find themselves in increasingly insecure work because of the current economic downturn.

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP will formally launch ACAN's annual report in Sydney today. The report highlights the greater scrutiny Catholic organisations are playing in supply chain decisions to help protect the rights of vulnerable workers and combat modern slavery.

ACAN, which was formed in December 2019, brings together 32 Catholic entities including dioceses, schools and universities and organisations across the finance and investment, health, aged care and welfare sectors. It is coordinated by the Anti-Slavery Taskforce of the Sydney Archdiocese.

Chair of the Anti-Slavery Taskforce, John McCarthy QC, said the annual report highlights the progress ACAN had made in a relatively short time in working towards the eradication of modern slavery nationally and globally.

“Through this new network, Catholic entities have been sharing resources and coordinating action to manage and mitigate the risk of modern slavery across their industry sectors,” he said.

“Up to 1,500 suppliers to ACAN entities are likely to be contacted over coming months with new obligations they are expected to meet to ensure they are addressing the risk of modern slavery effectively through their supply chains.”

Mr McCarthy said this work was more critical than ever, “at a time when the risk of modern slavery has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Read the Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network’s inaugural annual report

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Australian Catholic Anti Slavery Network launches its first Annual Report (Sydney Archdiocese)

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