The Issue

Slavery is not a problem of the past: the United Nations has estimated that 50 million people are currently working in conditions of modern slavery worldwide, including 25 million in corporate sector supply chains. These supply chains create products that are bought and sold every day in Australia.

Domestic and forced labour (including seasonal and migrant workers), forced marriage, and sexual servitude, are all forms of modern slavery that occur domestically in Australia. Many Australian enterprises are also engaged with offshore investment or supply arrangements that support modern slavery.

Modern slavery includes working in conditions of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception and/or abuse of power.

Our People and Partners

Dr Katherine Christ and her colleagues at C-EDGE are determined to ensure that Australian enterprises understand their links to modern slavery and have the tools to eliminate modern slavery from their business models.

Dr Christ has established herself as a preeminent thought leader in this space, collaborating with key stakeholders including Red Cross Australia, SA Unions, Electronics Watch, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Red Cross Australia and Discovery Parks.

“Many people thought slavery ended with abolition, but it didn’t. It’s all around us and is embedded in many of the products and services we use every day. Slavery is everyone’s problem but if we work together, we can move towards a world where freedom is enjoyed by everyone.” Dr Katherine Christ.


Dr Christ has collaborated with industry partners to establish the South Australian Modern Slavery Network, which is the only organisation of its type in Australia. The network engages stakeholders from all sections of the community and has recently developed a comprehensive response to the Federal Government on the effectiveness of the Modern Slavery Act 2018.

Dr Christ and Professor Roger Burritt (Australian National University) have also developed the Modern Slavery Compass: A New Tool to Point Business in the Right Direction. The Compass provides all Australian enterprises with a rationale and framework with which to address their connection to modern slavery.

Various enterprises, such as accounting body CPA Australia, have been guided by Dr Christ’s work. CPA Australia has developed its Modern Slavery Statement thanks to the Modern Slavery Compass, and provides a clear path forward to ensure future best practice.

Merran Kelsall, President and Chairman of the CPA Australia board says, “Business action to combat modern slavery is more important than ever.”

“We are committed to ongoing improvement in future years and will be establishing a three-year roadmap for continuous improvement.”

Dr Christ is currently collaborating with software company Ask Your Team, creators of the online application, Ethical Voice. Ethical Voice allows workers to provide feedback on their working conditions anonymously, in their own language, and on any device. Real-time reporting allows organisations to deliver on due diligence regarding worker wellbeing.

Engage with us

In Australia, there is much work to be done to eliminate modern slavery, and unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the vulnerability of workers embedded in modern slavery.

Dr Christ believes in using education and transparency to generate change, and in supporting enterprises to be the agents of transformation. She and her colleagues are available to collaborate with business, industry organisations, government, and fellow researchers to develop world-leading responses to the urgent issue of modern slavery.

Please contact us for further information, or to discuss opportunities for collaboration.