Modern Slavery Research Group

The QUT Modern Slavery Research Group is a multi-disciplinary group of researchers seeking to improve knowledge and understanding of the issue of modern slavery and labour exploitation to combat this grave and complex global problem.

Globally, it is estimated that there are more than 40 million people experience modern slavery (Global Slavery Index 2022). Modern slavery is found in all regions of the world and across a range of industries (e.g. agriculture, fisheries and farming, the garment industry, manufacturing, and hospitality).

The Australian Government defines modern slavery as any situation “…where coercion, threats or deception are used to exploit victims and undermine or deprive them of their freedom” (Modern Slavery Act 2018). This definition includes eight types of specific human rights violations as modern slavery; including human trafficking; slavery; servitude; forced marriage; forced labour; debt bondage; deceptive recruiting for labour or services; and the worst forms of child labour.

Our research group takes a broader approach and views modern slavery as an umbrella term for a continuum of exploitative practices that gradually worsen to the most extreme violations of labour standards and human rights. Our research examines:

  • Policy responses to modern slavery in Australia and worldwide
  • Business and human rights and corporate social responsibility
  • Ethical consumerism and shareholder activism on modern slavery
  • The role of accounting and the finance industry
  • Labour exploitation within specific industries (e.g. the apparel industry)
  • Artificial intelligence for Sustainable Development Goals