Thursday 27 April 2017
Welcome to the summary of Day Two of the Modern Slavery Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop, which focused on the legislative landscape across the region and the specific role of parliamentarians. The workshop remained under Chatham House Rule.
The legislative landscape
The opening session was an opportunity for each delegation to give their perspective on the development of legislation on modern slavery. The delegates from Australia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka highlighted some of advancements that have been made in their jurisdiction to tackle modern slavery as well as ongoing challenges.
In small-groups, delegates then explored in greater detail the legislative landscape of their countries as well as the opportunities there are to work towards combating modern slavery. Some of the issues raised included a lack of education of the risks of exploitation for vulnerable individuals; the need for developed nations to take greater responsibility of human trafficking and exploitation; and the inefficiency of implementation of existing laws that can prevent modern slavery. Some suggested solutions included creating awareness raising campaigns; establishing international networks that share best practice; and the strategic development of legislation that is regionally complimentary.
Role of parliamentarians
Next, delegates heard from UK parliamentarians about the passing of the UK Modern Slavery Act and the role that parliamentarians play in addressing slavery issues. The UK parliamentarians shared about the immense effort that was required on behalf of MPs and Peers to make the Modern Slavery Act a reality, as well as the ongoing review process of the bill to identify flaws and suggests amendments. One of the issues raised from the discussions with UK parliamentarians was the importance of training and education to ensure legislation is properly understood and enforced.
The role of partners
Delegates then explored the role of supporting partners. The session split into three, with groups rotating between representatives of civil society, law enforcement and the judiciary. This allowed for the exchanging of ideas and a greater awareness of the role partners can play in supporting parliamentarians as they work to combat modern slavery.
The discussions raised the benefit of a legal framework specifically set up to deal with modern slavery; international cooperation of law enforcement agencies; and the important role NGOs can play in improving legislation through research and expertise.
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