Almost three quarters of all baby clothes imported last year were linked to forced labour, according to new research from World Vision.
The not-for-profit organisation found 99% of baby items imported in 2022, worth more than $51 million, was at high risk of being made under child or forced labour during manufacturing in offshore markets.
But that statistic is just the tip of the iceberg, with research showing the country imported $7.9 billion worth of goods linked to modern slavery last year – and each household spends on average about $77 a week on goods linked to child and forced labour.
Those are statistics that Rebekah Armstrong says hit too close to home for comfort.
“It’s quite a shocking number. It’s the goods that we are using every single day that are risky, and I don’t think a lot of companies or consumers actually understand so many products are linked to these conditions,” says Armstrong, head of advocacy and justice at World Vision.
The organisation says the goods most associated with modern slavery are electronics, clothing, shoes, toys, and foods including bananas, fish, coffee and palm oil – an ingredient hidden in beauty products and a wide range of the foods, including chocolate and other snacks, we consume every day.
China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia are among the worst offending countries manufacturing goods under child labour and forced labour in supply chains.
World Vision says 10% of the country’s imports are likely to have been harvested, mined, or produced using modern slavery.
It estimates that there are 50 million children, women and men trapped in modern slavery, making many of the products that fill our supermarkets, workplaces and homes.
One in four people in modern slavery is a child.
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