Reducing modern slavery with new digital and enforcement technologies

RMIT Researchers

  • Associate Professor Shelley Marshall
  • Carla Unger
  • Rebekah Farrell

Project Description

Forced and bonded labour, as well as poverty wages, have been uncovered in Australia's meat and cleaning industries and eight government inquiries since 2016 have identified inadequate enforcement tools as an impediment to effective regulation. This project aims to assess whether and in what ways enforcement can be enhanced by adapting advances in digital technologies to the needs of labour regulators for their strategies to reduce modern slavery. This will be achieved by case studies of enforcement efforts in domestic meat processing and cleaning supply chains, as well as studies of practical applications of digital technologies.

A range of technologies could enhance detection, enforcement and coordination between labour regulators that are as yet unexplored either in Australia or overseas. These include radio frequency identification, remote sending, blockchain, crowdsourcing data collection and the use of artificial intelligence or machine learning. The toolbox of options designed in the project will enhance enforcement powers using feasible and readily useable applications that are within the budgets of regulators. The tools will be of great interest to other jurisdictions.

Industry Partners

Cleaning Accountability Framework, United Workers Union


Labour in Supply Chains

Key Words

Modern Slavery, Digital Technologies

Funding Sources

Australian Research Council AUD $422,689.00, RMIT R&I: AUD $150,000.

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