Ending Modern Slavery

Since 1990, the Mercy Foundation has been challenging unfair structures and systems that result in poverty by taking action and working in partnership with other organisations, providing seed funding for projects, advocacy with all levels of government and education to help bring about real change for disadvantaged Australians.


Modern slavery and human trafficking exploits highly vulnerable men, women and children experiencing poverty. It denies fundamental human rights and strips people of human dignity.

Slavery in Australia

It is estimated that over 40 million people worldwide are subjected to modern slavery. This issue is not just the concern of poor countries. Modern slavery exits in Australia in the form of,

  • forced labour,
  • domestic servitude,
  • exit trafficking,
  • deceptive recruitment for labour or services,
  • forced or early marriage and
  • debt bondage.

People can be denied their freedom and unwittingly forced into  unpaid work through deception and the threat of violence.
Watch these three videos from Anti-Slavery Australia to understand how slavery can happen in Australia.

Domestic Servitude

Restaurant Worker

Agricultural Worker

Australia’s National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020 – 2025

The National Action Plan (NAP) to Combat Modern Slavery was developed by the Australian Government, showing commitment to eradicate modern slavery and to protect and support victim/survivors of these crimes.

The latest NAP was developed after a review of the 2015 – 2019 NAP which included a number of consultations with community organisations and written submissions.

The Plan’s vision is to build a future where no one is subjected to modern slavery and the human rights of all people are valued equally.

The National Action Plan can be accessed here.

Slavery in the Supply Chain

As consumers, we could be unknowingly supporting modern slavery when we buy products that have been made with slavery in the supply chain. Knowing who makes your clothes, where the cocoa in your chocolate comes from, who sources materials for the manufacture of your mobile phone and the working conditions of the people who provide you services are ways we can make better consumer choices that are modern slavery free.
Find out how to make a difference here.

Human trafficking and slavery is a new area of interest for the Mercy Foundation. Globally, the Sisters of Mercy have been working to address this issue over the last few years and are making inroads in prevention and responses to this issue, especially where women and girls are concerned. The Mercy network is working to eradicate human trafficking through addressing root causes, raising awareness and lobbying to change related policies, whilst ensuring there is national legislation in place to protect, facilitate justice for, and offer full support to survivors of trafficking.
We are currently working on how we can best make a contribution to ending human trafficking and slavery in Australia.

Image credit: CC Flikr/FADWU