Modern slavery

What is modern slavery?

Today, an estimated 41,000 people in Australia, and up to 50 million people worldwide, are subject to modern slavery. Modern slavery refers to a range of serious crimes and human rights violations involving exploitation and control. This could include forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, human trafficking and the worst forms of child labour.

Our commitment to combatting Modern Slavery

Southern Cross University is committed to the prevention of slavery and human trafficking in all its activities and to ensuring that our operations and supply chains are free from slavery and human trafficking wherever they are located.

Learn more about how Southern Cross University is addressing modern slavery and our ongoing commitment in our annual modern slavery statements:

Southern Cross Modern Slavery Act Statement (2022)

Southern Cross Modern Slavery Act Statement (2021)

Modern slavery and students

Modern slavery happens in Australia and SCU recognises that international students are at a heightened risk of experiencing it.

What are the signs of modern slavery?

Due to the hidden and intimidating nature of modern slavery, most victims go undetected. According to Anti-Slavery Australia, these are some of the main signs:

  • Controlled or restricted freedom of movement – monitored, guarded or confined
  • Intimidation and threats including threats of deportation
  • Threatened or actual physical and/or sexual violence
  • Travel or other important documents have been taken by employer or a third party
  • Abusive living and/or working conditions
  • Living at the workplace or another place owned/controlled by employer
  • Isolation – geographic, social and/or linguistic
  • Withholding, underpayment or no payment of wages
  • Excessive hours of work
  • Debt bondage (i.e. labour or services are provided as security or repayment of an inflated debt)
  • Deceived or lack of information about nature and conditions of work
  • No discretion over life decisions
  • Unable to end employment at any time

Modern slavery: types and environments

“Slavery is often hidden in homes, in restaurants, on farms and on building sites. What is common to all of these examples, is that someone is being exploited and controlled.” Anti-Slavery Australia.

Labour exploitation is against the law. Workplace rights, including rules about pay, leave, conditions and leaving employment are protected by law. We can provide support and advice if you feel you are being exploited at work.

It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure they are compliant.

Employers are not allowed to:

  • Pay you below the minimum wage - $23.23 per hour or $882.80 per week (2024)
  • Fail to provide workplace entitlements, such as superannuation or paid leave
  • Ask you to pay a deposit in order to get a job
  • Threaten you with cancelling your visa
  • Request unpaid training
  • Make unfair deductions from your wages (i.e. training, accommodation, transport or food)
  • Withhold your passport
  • Ask you to reimburse unreasonable debts by working for them, or doing anything else that makes you feel you cannot resign.

If you have experienced or witnessed any form of domestic or family violence, sexual harm or sexual harassment, you can make a report or call 1800 SC HELP / 1800 72 4357 for assistance.

All persons have the right to choose whether or not they get married, regardless of age, visa status, gender, sexuality culture or religion. Forcing someone to get married without their full and free consent is a crime in Australia.

Your visa can only be cancelled by the Australian Government (Department of Home Affairs).  Neither employers nor sponsors can cancel your visa.

Check you visa details and conditions here.

Have you or someone you know been forced or tricked into travelling to a different country or to Australia only to be exploited on arrival? Call 1800 SC HELP / 1800 72 4357 for assistance, or make a report through the University’s online incident portal, RiskWare.

Get support

Emergency help: call 000

To report a crime of modern slavery: call the Australian Federal Police on 131 237

Security and support services at Southern Cross University: 1800 SC HELP / 1800 72 4357

International student support at Southern Cross University

Anti-Slavery Australia: Free legal service committed to the abolition of modern slavery

Fair Work Australia and Study Australia: working rights and visa information (visit the Department of Education for information in different languages)

Fair Work Australia - Employees with disability

Cleaning Accountability Framework (CAF): Information for cleaners

My Blue Sky: Information on forced marriage

Immigration Advice and Rights Centre: Free immigration advice and support

Australian Red Cross: Support for trafficked people


Report an incident through RiskWare