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We have joined with World Vision to call on New Zealanders to take action again modern slavery, by signing a petition calling for a Modern Slavery Act.
The petition is being launched on the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The day is not well known but Trade Aid CEO Geoff White says it is significant. “40 million people are in modern slavery – more people now than at any point in history. We tend to think of slavery as outdated, but it’s very much a part of our world and very much a part of the supply chains of products being sold here in NZ.”
A Modern Slavery Act would require NZ businesses to understand the modern slavery risks in their purchasing, report on those risks, and take action to address them. They make it easier for a consumer to expect slavery-free products and services from companies and they give business a level playing field.
Earlier this month over 85 NZ businesses signed a joint letter calling on the NZ government to make moves towards enacting the legislation. And we believe consumers want this law passed too. “Modern slavery goes against kiwi values”, says World Vision CEO Grant Bayldon. “New Zealand has often been seen as a leader in progressive law-making but in this instance we’re lagging behind a number of other countries who already have supply chain legislation in place.”
Not having a Modern Slavery Act means New Zealand companies could unknowingly be importing products or services linked with slavery, and consumers could unknowingly be buying them.
We ask Aotearoa to take action for the rights of the most vulnerable in our global community, and sign the petition to urge our government to pass a Modern Slavery Act.