With approximately 11% of forced labour victims worldwide being found within the agricultural and fishing sector, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) ranks agriculture, alongside forestry and fishing, as the sector with the fourth-highest proportion of victims of forced labour. Commodities that involve a high risk of modern slavery include cocoa, fish, palm oil, coffee and sugar.
Risk factors for this industry include a vulnerable workforce in a labour-intensive sector, low-tier suppliers in high-risk geographies, high-risk business practices and reliance on seasonal, irregular and migrant workers.
The mistreatment and exploitation of workers within agriculture and fishing also occur within Australian borders, with migrant workers and foreign students being particularly vulnerable to exploitative practices.
The adoption of innovations and a collaborative approach across the industry will be important to achieving complete traceability of supply chains, identifying high-risk areas, transforming high-risk business models and addressing rights violations.