The international human rights organisation began their engagement with an event that ran alongside the United Nations Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum in Bangkok, where they engaged with various forum participants through a collaborative shift and share on various areas of focus. During this side-event, Walk Free led open discussions on the GSI’s methodology, the responsibility of the business and financial sector within the Asia-Pacific to combat modern slavery, and the role that G20 imports play in fuelling exploitation.
Walk Free’s Business and Government Engagement Manager, Catherine Parsons also presented on the risks of exploitation to migrant workers in supply chains, detailing the essential need for business and government collaboration when responding to modern slavery.
While in Thailand, Walk Free hosted representatives from businesses, the financial sector, civil society, and various embassies at their evening reception, The New Global Slavery Index: Addressing Risks in Asian Supply Chains. A keynote was delivered by business and human rights expert, Dr Seree Nonthasoot, followed by a panel led by Walk Free’s Head of Business Advocacy, Serena Grant, which focused on business and human rights and the importance of ethical investing. Panellists included, Secretary General of the Government Pension Fund Dr. Srikanya Yathip, the Asia Pacific Regional Director of the International Organization for Migration Sarah Lou Ysmael Arriola, and Director of Sustainability in Asia Prad Kerdpairoj.
During the trip, Walk Free briefed several government officials at the Australian Embassy in Thailand, including the Deputy Ambassador Angela Macdonald, and staff from the Home Affairs office, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Australian Federal Police. Additionally, the team met with Thai universities to discuss the current situation of modern slavery as detailed in the GSI, and to further explore opportunities for collaboration.
While in the Philippines, Walk Free met with the Philippines Department of Migrant Workers, Layers Beyond Borders and Emigrants Welfare Forum to discuss the flagship report, as well as barriers to effective collaboration, and ways to improve protections of migrants across the Asia-Pacific.