Modern slavery presents Australia and the world with an alarming confrontation.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has projected more than 40 million victims of modern slavery worldwide.1 Victims of modern slavery are likely to be significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the emerging social and economic pressure. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken corporates in ways that may become permanent features of the future workplace. It is time to think of the ‘post-pandemic modern slavery’. Although modern slavery continues to exist, efforts to combat modern slavery and to ensure labour rights to vulnerable victims have been continuing with full force by the Australian Government, as they delivered on many of the requirements that had been set out in the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) and brought the New South Wales state modern slavery act into force. Additionally, Australia not only continues to make efforts to prevent modern slavery through labour exploitation, but regulation has also been widened to take a tougher stance on exploitation within partner relationships. Furthermore, COVID-19 transformed the immigration domain as travel bans and isolation were heavily relied upon to stop the spread of the virus. This fuelled many issues with regard to the regulation of temporary visa holders. This chapter will explore Australia’s efforts in combatting modern slavery as well as the response to temporary visa holders’ rights as a result of the pandemic.