If you’re new to The Freedom Hub or this is the first article you’ve stumbled upon, you may think, “There’s no way slavery still exists in Australia. The Australian government banned slavery at least a hundred years ago.” And you’d be partially correct. While the Australian government legally banned slavery in 1901, modern slavery still exists in our nation today. According to the Global Slavery Index, 41,000 people fit the description of an enslaved person in Australia, up from 15,000 people in 2018.

While the term “slave” or “slavery” may conjure up specific historical images in our minds, modern slavery looks a little different. In Australia, modern slavery includes forced marriages, sexual exploitation, forced labour, and more. Although there are a variety of definitions for modern slavery, each definition agrees that there is severe exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain. For this article, we’ll refer to the definition provided on the Walk Free website:

[Modern Slavery] refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power.

[It] covers a set of specific legal concepts including forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, slavery and slavery-like practices, and human trafficking.

Slavery is prevalent in every country around the world, and it has roots in a wide variety of industries: garment manufacturing, mining, agriculture, private homes, settlements for displaced people and refugees, coffee farming and production, and so much more. There are traces of slavery in the food and products we consume.

So what can we do?

In response to 2018 reports on modern slavery, the Australian government passed the Modern Slavery Act. The Act requires large corporations and entities to report on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chain. It also requires those businesses to outline how they will address those risks. This is a great first step, but it’s certainly not enough, and our work to end slavery in Australia doesn’t stop here.


The first step is education. It’s hard to believe that slavery exists in a country as beautiful and free as Australia, but it does. Our ignorance of a very real human rights issue can only hurt victims and survivors of modern slavery. We must be committed to continually educating ourselves and be willing to educate those around us. It can be as simple as posting new information and statistics on your social media. Or it can look like having conversations about consumerism with friends and family. Maybe as a friend group, you decide to shop at brands committed to ethically producing their products. You could also sign up for our newsletter and get consistent updates on what The Freedom Hub is doing.

Educating yourself and others about modern slavery in Australia (or your country) doesn’t have to be complicated. Education is the first step in fighting for the 41,000 currently enslaved people and ensuring that no one else falls victim.

Conscious Consumer Shopping

The second thing we can do is make informed decisions about where we shop. Everyday items such as coffee, make-up and clothes are often made or produced by people trapped in slavery. It’s imperative to our fight that we all begin the journey of conscious consumerism by shopping at brands that are committed to paying workers fair wages, not using forced labour, and ensuring healthy and safe working conditions. We’ve put together a directory of ethical businesses here that’s a great place to start.


The third thing we can do is donate to organisations like The Freedom Hub, which is directly involved in the healing and future of survivors of modern slavery. Our Survivor School is where we train survivors, encourage them and prepare them for the workforce. A place where survivors can learn, feel valued, and reestablish trust. You can donate here if you’d like to support our Survivor School.

Want to Make a Difference NOW?

Fiver$ for Survivors – An event that asks businesses and individuals to give a small amount, from just $5 that will have a big effect on the lives of survivors. One hundred per cent of donations from the Fivers for Survivors Campaign will go to survivors of modern slavery through The Freedom Hub. You can sign up or donate here.

The Freedom Fair –  The Freedom Fair is a vibrant and welcoming environment where our community comes together to make conscious decisions that contribute to the fight against modern slavery. It is being held on 12 August 2023 at The Freedom Hub. Find more information here.

Pitch for Good Parramatta – This campaign presents an incredible opportunity to open a survivor school in Western Sydney. Your support can change lives by providing life-changing opportunities and essential services to vulnerable individuals who have lost all hope. You can donate on our crowdfunding page here.

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