Michelle Bruce attends Dunedin City Baptist Church and is passionate about advocacy. “We cannot be indifferent or apathetic to structures of oppression that we benefit from. This is why supporting legislative action in the area of Modern Slavery is a practical way to help bring about change.”

Submissions on proposed Modern Slavery legislation are currently being taken and as Christians we should be playing a role in this. As Christians we are called to “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless and plead the widow’s cause” (Isiah 1:17 ESV). 

Modern Slavery Legislation

The Modern Slavery Act is proposed legislation to identify and prevent the use of modern slavery in New Zealand supply chains. Over 40 million children, women and men are estimated to be in modern slavery today.[1] Modern slavery encompasses forced, child, and slave labour.[2] Legislation would provide transparency in supply chains, asking businesses to understand and mitigate the risks in their supply chains and help to reduce modern slavery by cutting off demand. 

Modern Slavery legislation has started to make its way into other jurisdictions with the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the European Union drafting or implementing legislation to address this.

Current Stage in the Legislative Process

World Vision in collaboration with Trade-Aid launched a petition in 2021 to “sign for freedom.” It was a campaign attempting to garner support for modern slavery legislation. As a World Vision Advocacy Ambassador, I got to take part in the process of generating support for and gaining signatures. It received over 37,000 signatures and was presented to parliament in June 2021. [3]

Since then, it has been sent to the petitions committee that recommended:

“The Petitions Committee has considered the petition of Trade Aid and World Vision New Zealand—Take Action against Modern Slavery—and recommends that the Government bring legislation addressing modern slavery before the House as soon as possible while allowing for adequate policy development and public consideration.[4]”

Importance of Submissions

Submissions occur during the drafting process of legislation. They help to form and shape what legislation will look like. This is the public consultation part of forming law, if you want your elected officials to represent you – this is YOUR chance to inform them of how you think the law can best be implemented.  The New Zealand government is currently taking submissions on modern slavery legislation. 

How to get Involved

World vision has set up a webpage to help people to make submissions in support of the Modern Slavery Act. There is a set out template outlining what World Vision believes modern slavery legislation should do. This allows submitters to put as much or as little individual voice into their submission whilst also indicating to the government their support of the legislation. 

The link to submit is: worldvision.org.nz/causes/advocacy/support-modern-slavery-law

Let us take action, let us “Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8)

For more information and more ways to help, head over to worldvision.org.nz/causes/advocacy/modern-slavery-act

Michelle Bruce – Attends Dunedin City Baptist Church and was a World Vision Advocacy Ambassador, Law Student at the University of Otago 

1. worldvision.org.nz/getmedia/6904e490-14b7-4fbf-b11e-308ddf99c44a/WVNZ-research-risky-goods-nz-imports

2. Modern Slavery Act 2015 (UK) Part 1. 

3. worldvision.org.nz/stories/advocacy/a-case-for-modern-slavery-legislation

4. parliament.nz/resource/en-NZ/SCR_119674/cd2269f1b26045d9aa77b458d40c40f726d4a571

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