At the Sixth Bali Process Ministerial Conference of March 2016, Ministers recognised the need to engage the private sector to combat human trafficking, forced labour and related exploitation. The forum brought together ministers and business leaders from the 45 Bali Process countries to determine policies to tackle human trafficking, modern slavery and forced labour.
Ministers and their representatives and Business Leaders acknowledged modern slavery, in the form of human trafficking, forced labour and the worst forms of child labour as a hidden crime that affects every country and all economic sectors.
The Perth Forum was attended by representatives of the governments of Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Lao PDR, Macao, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tonga, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Representatives from the International Labour Organization attended the meeting as invited guests.
The Perth Forum was also attended by business leaders from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nauru, New Zealand, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, the United States of America, and Vanuatu.
Ministers and Business Leaders noted the importance of working towards establishing adequate policy frameworks in our countries and underlined the responsibility of both governments and businesses to exercise due diligence.
Ministers and Business Leaders noted the Perth Forum Pledge which was open for signature by all participants on a voluntary basis. The pledge was a declaration that modern slavery fails to respect the dignity and freedom of the person. Signatories pledged to use their influence and power within the Indo-Pacific region and globally to work together for the freedom of those enslaved and trafficked.
After consultation with business and experts, the top 3 priorities included in the resulting Perth Forum Work Plan for 2017/18 inlcuded:
- Ethical employment – the ethical recruitment, employment, treatment and transport of workers, particularly migrant workers.
- Transparency of supply chains – improving transparency of supply chains to enable business to identify and respond to risks of modern slavery.
- Safeguards and redress mechanisms – availability of and access to safeguards and redress mechanisms for victims, workers and whistle-blowers via company complaint processes, mechanisms and collaboration.
As a framework for the Perth Forum, seven key principles were developed by the Business Co-Chairs and Business Leaders. Outcomes, initiatives and projects must:
- Provide a combination of regional and national solutions.
- Be business-led, and utilise both business and government resources
- Contribute and drive forward innovative and effective solutions.
- Be scalable solutions across the breadth of business sectors.
- Provide options to reflect different capacities and contexts of businesses
- Collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders to identify and leverage
existing relevant work.
- (Above all) positively impact the eradication of slavery, prevent
exploitation and protect victims.