Action plan to tackle modern forms of slavery released

Workplace Relations and Safety

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood today released New Zealand’s Plan of Action against Forced Labour, People Trafficking and Slavery, which sets out the all-of-government approach to combatting these crimes.

Michael Wood said the scourge of modern slavery, including forced labour and people trafficking, is a serious problem both internationally and in New Zealand.

“These crimes deprive people of their human rights, traumatise victims and hurt communities and the economy – they must be stamped out.

“As our world has become increasingly interconnected, we’re taking action to ensure companies aren’t contributing to problems elsewhere, like the exploitation of workers in firms that supply New Zealand companies and consumers.

The Plan outlines 28 actions agencies are taking through to 2025. The actions fall under three key pillars: Prevention, Protection, and Enforcement, and cut across a wide range of themes, including:

  • awareness raising and training
  • the elimination of modern slavery from supply chains
  • the effective and efficient delivery of support services to victims
  • the strengthening of operational, policy and legislative settings to enhance enforcement and prosecution, and
  • international cooperation to support effective prevention and enforcement responses.

“This is not an issue we can combat alone. We will partner with others taking action against these crimes, including civil society groups, unions, businesses, academics, international organisations, and foreign governments.

“Any form of exploitation is not acceptable. While the Plan is focussed on more extreme forms of exploitation, it includes changes that we are progressing to address exploitation across the spectrum. This includes $50 million in funding over four years to address temporary migrant worker exploitation, and our pre-election commitment to exploring the implementation of modern slavery legislation in New Zealand,” Michael Wood said.

Michael Wood launched the Plan of Action at the Tango I Te Kaupae Muri – Take the Next Step conference, which focuses on ending modern day slavery and worker exploitation in Aotearoa New Zealand.

To read the Plan of Action, visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s website.