Modern slavery, encompassing human trafficking, forced labour, forced marriage, and sexual exploitation, affects an estimated 40.3 million people globally. Despite a common misconception that modern slavery is limited to developing countries, it is a worldwide issue, with Australia also affected. Nurses, as frontline healthcare workers, are crucial in identifying and protecting victims and vulnerable populations. They are particularly well-positioned in acute and primary healthcare settings to detect signs of modern slavery. This position statement offers a comprehensive overview of modern slavery from both global and Australian perspectives. It aims to equip nurses with the knowledge and tools to recognise, support, and safeguard victims and those at risk.
ACN advocates for:
- Nurses to be supported with appropriate professional development to enable them to recognise and report all forms of abuse consistent with modern slavery.
- Nurses to be assisted through access to education that addresses the specific health, mental wellbeing, cultural, and social needs of vulnerable populations to prevent modern slavery.