The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs describes Modern Slavery as situations where offenders use coercion, threats or deception to exploit victims and undermine their freedom.


Practices that constitute modern slavery can include:

  • human trafficking
  • slavery
  • servitude
  • forced labour
  • debt bondage
  • forced marriage, and
  • the worst forms of child labour

Modern slavery is a term used to describe serious exploitation.

It is hard to imagine how this can even exist or how widespread it truly is. However it is in the clothes we wear, the food we eat and the hotels, restaurants and shops we pass everyday. Modern slavery can include many different types of exploitation from sex trafficking within escort services to labour trafficking in restaurants, forced marriage, debt bondage, slavery and slavery-like practices. It is estimated that 40.3 million people live in modern slavery today with women and girls disproportionally accounting for 71% of this.

The Walk Free Foundation ‘Stacked Odds’ Report has even more alarming statistics:

  • Females account for a staggering 99 per cent of all victims of forced sexual exploitation,
  • 84 per cent of all victims of forced marriage, and
  • 58 per cent of all victims of forced labour.
  • Females also outnumber males as victims of modern slavery in four of five world regions.



Signs of modern slavery

Refer to this video for detailed signs of modern slavery

Signs to look out for, according to Crimestoppers UK, are:


  • Appearing scared, avoiding eye contact, or being untrusting.


  • Showing signs of injury, abuse, and malnourishment.


  • The person may look unkempt, often in the same clothing and have poor hygiene.


  • They may be under the control and influence of others.


  • Living in cramped, dirty, and overcrowded accommodation.


  • Lacking appropriate clothing or safety equipment for the work they are doing.


  • They may have no access to identification, like a passport or driving licence.


  • The person may be collected very early, or returned late at night, on a regular basis.


  • They may be isolated from the local community and their family.


How you can make a difference and help end modern slavery

Get Informed

Learn more about what modern slavery is and why this is still so prevalent. Resources:

Walk Free Foundation – Get Informed

Anti-Slavery Australia

Watch movies such as The Jammed to obtain an insight into modern slavery in Australia

Additional resources can be found below:

Demand Transparency

Use these ethical sourcing tools to make sure no one is harmed in the process of preparing the food you eat, manufacturing the clothes you wear or the technology you use.

Search your favourite brands here

 Champion Accountability

 At your school, university, work, place of worship, and local, state and federal Government here are toolkits for how you can become an advocate and champion a change of policies to protect all people.