The Business Co-Chairs of the Bali Process Government and Business Forum together with the Foreign Ministers of Australia and the Republic of Indonesia convened leaders from across the Asia Pacific region to discuss a joint response to ending modern slavery.
Under the pillars of supply chain transparency, ethical recruitment and worker redress, the leaders committed to act jointly to strengthen policy and legal frameworks, address the urgent need to understand the scale of modern slavery in the region, and advance efforts over the long-term to eradicate this transnational crime.
Ministers expressed their appreciation for the work of participating businesses, and the business Co-Chairs and Secretariat, for leading action in the Bali Process region.
Dr Andrew Forrest AO, Chairman of Fortescue and Australia’s Business Co-Chair of the Forum, highlighted the need for businesses to step up.
“Our companies must be leaders in global efforts to tackle modern slavery and encourage others to do the same. We must put people first, ensuring the most vulnerable are protected, not just in our own workforce but throughout our supply chains. Any business model which relies on these human rights abuses must be completely overhauled.”
“Good progress has been made since the Government and Business Forum last met. There is far greater awareness, we have new modern slavery laws in a number of countries, investors and stock exchanges are taking action and businesses are using technology to identify risks and protect workers.”
“But the problem is outpacing our progress. With 50 million people estimated to be living in modern slavery, we agreed here in Adelaide that urgent action and deeper collaboration between government and business is required to address these human rights abuses.”
Business leaders recognised that compounding crises– the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, and climate change – have all exacerbated the problems the Bali Process Government and Business Forum is working to address.
The leaders also noted the role that the financial sector can play in setting standards and allocating capital to build fair and ethical supply chains and the opportunities for regional collaboration between governments, investors, banks and stock exchanges.
Mr Garibaldi Thohir, Chief Executive Officer of Adaro Energy and Indonesia’s Business Co-Chair said: “We must contribute to global efforts to combat human trafficking, forced labour, and modern slavery practices. It is essential that we support government efforts to create legitimate job opportunities, and raise awareness about labour rights. Business leaders must work together to improve labour standards, and continuously improve practices to combat exploitation. Together, we can and we will.”
The 2021 Global Estimates indicated that almost 50 million people are in modern slavery on any given day, either forced to work against their will or in a marriage that they were forced into. Forced labour accounts for 27.6 million of those in modern slavery with forced marriage accounting for 22 million.
The Asia Pacific is the world’s largest region, representing around 56 percent of the world’s population. The region is also responsible for more than half of the global total of those trapped in forced labour.
The Government and Business Forum was established in 2017 to provide a strategic platform for collaboration between government and business and reflects the importance of cooperation between government and business to combat modern slavery, specifically forced labour, human trafficking and the worst forms of child labour.