Skip to main content
Modern Slavery. What and where is it?

Modern Slavery. What and where is it?

The truth is that even today, there are more than 40 million men, women and children all over the world who are victims of modern slavery. And each of us are connected to slaves somewhere

According to most credible modern slavery provinence and traceablity experts, there are around 40 million slaves worldwide. And many are in plain sight. With globalised supply chains, while you may never come across a slave, it is highly likely that if, for instance, you wear clothes, or eat Asian sourced seafood, that you are consuming products in which slaves are part of your personal supply chain.

Slaves sew the clothes we drape ourselves in, mine the gold we wear, catch and process the seafood we eat, make the rugs we walk on. And the sad truth is that there are more slaves in the world than there ever was. You simply can't see them from your living room. Either out the window or on your screen. (Even as a slave may have made your screen.)

What is slavery?

Modern slavery is defined as being forced to work without pay, under threat of coersion or violence, for the purposes of exploitation or bondage, against one’s own will.


The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that around 40.3 million people fall within the definition of modern slavery.

Modern Slavery laws around the world are changing

In Australia, Walk Free published one of the first comprehensive Global Slavery Index in 2018. It is supported by the Forrest family and reports extensively on slavery by country and bringing awareness of specific problems to light - and along with others like Made in a Free World, have led legislative changes in many countries.

On 1st January 2019, Australia’s Modern Slavery Bill came into law. It requires businesses with more than $100 million in turnover to report annually on their actions to address slavery risks in their supply chains. Target industries are the tech, clothing and food industries.

Try this App

In 2011, the USA Obama administration asked a guy called Justin Dillon (who had created the documentary film Call+Response to raise awareness about the victims of human trafficking); to develop a Slavery App to help consumers understand how their purchases connect to modern day slavery.

While Justin Dillon and Made in a Free World now exclusively focus on developing and implementing high impact solutions, rescuing and caring for victims, the app is still there and anyone can take the test to better understand their personal slavery footprint.  

Modern Slavery Certification

In September 2020, a group called Global GreenTag created the first Modern Slavery Transparency Declaration for products. It allow for companies to be transparent and share critical information that helps consumers know that no slavery was involved in the manufacture of their goods. Global GreenTag covers a range of Modern Slavery issues from which we need to protect people:

  • Deceptive Recruiting
  • Trafficking
  • Servitude
  • Forced Labour
  • Forced Marriage
  • Debt Bondage
  • Worst Forms of Child Labour
  • Discrimination
  • Equal Remuneration
  • Free Association and Collective Bargaining.

Something incorrect here? Suggest an update below: