AIFS seminar series presentation

10:00 am - 11:15 am, Thursday 14 March 2013, AIFS Seminar Room, Level 20, 485 La Trobe Street, Melbourne

How families and practitioners may encounter modern slavery in Australia

Roscoe Howell, Slavery Links Australia

Listen to the presentation audio (MP3 11.1 MB) | Read audio transcript | Slides available upon request

Roscoe Howell is the author of Australians and modern slavery, which has a Foreword by The Hon Catherine Branson, QC, (former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission) and illustrations by Reg Lynch.

Roscoe is the founding Director of the secular community association, Slavery Links Australia Inc. In this (pro bono) role he writes and speaks on slavery as an issue for Australians generally and for human rights education in particular. He is a semi-retired social planner.


Slavery happens when a person is, in effect, owned. That loss of freedom is what makes slavery a crime against humanity. In the Asia Pacific, four “engines” drive slave-making systems that have persisted for generations. The engines act together, in a summative way: poverty plus powerlessness plus crime/corruption plus conflict. Therefore anti-slavery action needs to address each engine and all of them. Slave-making systems exploit groups who are excluded from the mainstream. Such groups include women or people from a particular caste or tribe or skin colour. In this paper we define slavery in terms of the law and in terms of what slavery means for practitioners and organisations who work with families. We identify the different forms of slavery; who may be affected and the impact on families; where the impetus comes from; how Australians encounter slavery; and what systems and services could contribute to the diversity of Australian responses.

Pre-reading and preparation for the session

Persons wanting to prepare for the session can do so in the following ways:

Listen to Forms of modern day slavery address on ABC Radio National's 'Big Ideas'

Listen to an interview with Radio Adelaide's Ewart Shaw

Listen to an interview with SBS Radio's Karen Ashford (MP3)

Watch a video of the Wheeler Centre Lunchbox/Soapbox: Australians and modern slavery

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