Currently there are 40.3 million people that are trapped in modern slavery with, 24.9 million in forced labour. Furthermore, $127.7 billion worth of garments at risk of modern slavery are imported into G20 countries yearly, placing fashion within the top 5 exploitative industries

While it may not be at your doorstep, modern slavery is embedded into our global economy and supply chains.

Modern slavery demonstrates extreme exploitation of vulnerable workers and working conditions, which can often be hard to detect within the fashion industry due to the opacity and lack of transparency of supply chains. Modern slavery includes slavery; servitude; trafficking in persons; forced labour; debt bondage; forced marriage; and sale of or sexual exploitation of children.

Professor of Contemporary Slavery & Rights Lab Research Director, Kevin Bales, explains that “population growth has generated a glut of poor and vulnerable people, often unprotected by the state or law, making slaves easy to acquire. They can be lured and tricked with promises of work, or simply captured and enslaved”

Similar to that seen in the United Kingdom, the Australian Modern Slavery Act requires companies and businesses, to start thinking about the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and taking the steps to address these risks.

For businesses, the impact of detecting modern slavery within their supply chain and operations is significant. Other than the fact that modern slavery is a criminal act within Australia, it also poses dire risks to consumer and business reputation and longevity. Bales states that “slaves today are disposable, temporary and expendable inputs into criminal enterprises [and that] criminals that control enslaved workers... pay them nothing, and provide the minimum possible subsistence”. Thereby, increasing awareness and consequently reducing modern slavery, is vital not only to businesses and consumers but also the economy and wider community, creating a better world for the greater good, that’s free from slavery.

The Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018, requires any entities based or operating within Australia and making an annual consolidated revenue of at least $100 million to report on the risks of modern slavery within their operations, supply chain and actions annually. The act allows other entities based or operating within Australia to voluntarily report on their practices.

MAEKA publicly opposes slavery in all its forms and strives to create a new standard in ethical supplier relationships and supply chain transparency. We are passionate about the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 after making contribution and being involved in the consultation process of the act. 

We aim to provide a strong ‘worker voice’ and work with brands to become sustainable socially, environmentally, and economically.

It is often suggested that small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are left without choice with respect to their social accountability. We wish to not only encourage larger corporations to address the blind spots in their supply chains, but further, to provide an example of how this accountability can and should also be extended to SMEs.

MAEKA was designed to take the guesswork out of supply chains, sustainability standards and ethical manufacturing for brands that don’t quite know how to get there. We pride ourselves in our socially, environmentally and economically sustainable facilities and manufacturing partners (Outland Denim and Karen Walker), working with us to stretch our impact to make positive change and progression within the industry. 

At MAEKA, we hope to support you in your sustainability reporting efforts, and all MAEKA clients receive a modern slavery statement that can be included directly into their company reporting. 

As a manufacturing enterprise, MAEKA represents the best practice in environmental and social impact through our holistic approach, that supports the communities in which our facilities inhabit. As a company, we are committed to providing training, sustainable employment and financial freedom for women in Cambodia, who have experienced exploitation. 

Driven by a #ZeroExploitation ethos, MAEKA offers true social impact, living wages, responsible sourcing and premium quality. We are constantly improving our social and environmental practices so that we can continue to represent the future standard in production within the garment making industry. 

To learn more about MAEKA, click [here]. 

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