What the youth can do to end the modern slavery?

Canberra, ACT: According to the United Nations Human Rights Office of the Higher Commissioner, COVID-19 subjects millions of children, women and men into contemporary forms of slavery and other forms of exploitation. Thus, the Break the Chain communique published by the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Youth Partnership (AASYP) is of timely significance. This paper offers co-designed cultural, and gender responsive solutions grounded in dialogue across Australia and Southeast Asia. 

The communique was the outcome of a program called Break the Chain which consisted of 38 passionate young leaders across Southeast Asia and Australia. Delivered over five weekends earlier this year, this program was co-delivered by SD Strategies and Value Learning. The partners drew on a wealth of experience that added enormous value to the collaboration, knowledge-sharing and skill-building through workshops and masterclasses. Throughout the programme, the participants formed a capable and dynamic network of young people to become the next thought leaders and innovators on the topic of modern slavery and human trafficking. 



A screenshot of the online "Break the Chain" program

The culmination of this communique was made possible through the contribution of partners and participating young leaders from a range of disciplinary and work backgrounds. The document should be of significant interest to key decision-makers, policymakers and non-government organisations seeking a well-considered deep dive on this important issue. Key recommendations include:

  • Provide specialised mentoring for youth with expertise and demonstrated participation in issues of modern slavery, human trafficking, and forced labour.
  • Adopt clear and consistent definitions of modern slavery, human trafficking, and forced labour across sectors and countries to assist in identifying exploitative labour practices.
  • Work across sectors to develop community-based programmes that educate workers on their labour rights and signs of exploitative practices (including awareness around legal work hours, working conditions, work parameters, leave, and health and safety).
  • Develop avenues for ongoing collaboration across different sectors, including business, government, academia, not-for-profit, and the media, to utilise their unique insights and generate comprehensive policy decisions and initiatives.
  • Recognise that modern slavery, human trafficking, and forced labour are not solely security issues, and that these challenges cannot be solved by independent nations alone and must instead be met by regional efforts.
  • Enhance referral mechanisms across the region, including the creation of national referral hotlines and reporting mechanisms. 

AASYP is committed to being a leader in connecting young people across ASEAN and Australia. The organisation has engaged with important stakeholders in the region and is gaining momentum in attracting thought leadership on critical shared challenges including modern slavery. AASYP is eager to facilitate similar programs in the future and invites interested organisations to get in touch at team@aasyp.org.


About AASYP: AASYP empowers young people aged 18-29 years old from across ASEAN and Australia to engage with each other and the most pressing issues of today. We build young people’s expertise and engagement with ASEAN-Australia affairs, and provide tangible opportunities for young people to engage in promoting peace and prosperity across the relationship. 

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