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Although slavery has long been officially abolished worldwide, the sinister crime of treating people as commodities to be exploited for financial gain is nonetheless still widespread: an estimated 40 million people worldwide are affected by modern slavery and human trafficking today.

Many organisations with international supply chains are unaware of the complexity of these issues and how they may relate to their own operations – but public opinion and legislation are forcing that to change.

“Modern slavery is a huge issue, and whether businesses in Australia understand or not, they’re often providing the demand for goods that are produced by modern slavery,” said Professor Martin Drum of The University of Notre Dame Australia.

“Slavery exists because we are part of the market for it. But the cohort of people that are more interested in where their goods are coming from is slowly increasing. Like environmental sustainability, people are going to be asking more and more questions in this space.”

The Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act 2018 imposed mandatory reporting for organisations in Australia with revenue over $100 million annually. This means businesses need people with an understanding of the legislative requirements associated with modern slavery and human trafficking and the risks within their supply chains. These professionals will also play a crucial role in the collective global response to these issues.

That’s why Professor Drum and his colleagues at Notre Dame developed a suite of postgraduate degrees for those who would like to develop expertise in the area. The degrees equip graduates to be leaders in their workplaces and in the wider community, working to put an end to the exploitation of vulnerable people.

Students analyse the complex and mostly hidden crimes associated with modern slavery and human trafficking from a human rights perspective as well as from legal and business standpoints.

The foundational graduate certificate includes four courses covering practical topics relating to business practices and legal compliance, plus law enforcement, and ethical and moral leadership. The graduate diploma builds on this with fieldwork and case study courses, and can lead on to a master’s degree.