Communities and Justice

Anti-slavery Commissioner

The Anti-slavery Commissioner for New South Wales is Dr James Cockayne. 

NSW was the first state or territory in Australia to introduce standalone legislation to address modern slavery, the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (NSW). Dr Cockayne is the first commissioner appointed to the role on a full-time basis. His 5-year term commenced on 1 August 2022. Professor Jennifer Burn served as Interim Anti-slavery Commissioner in 2018-2019.

The Anti-slavery Commissioner’s functions include:

  • advocating for and promoting action to combat modern slavery
  • identifying and providing assistance and support for victims of modern slavery
  • support to and oversight of NSW public procurement efforts to remove products of modern slavery from supply-chains 
  • issuing codes of practice and maintaining a public register related to efforts to address modern slavery risks in supply-chains 
  • raising community awareness of modern slavery. 

NSW Government agencies and local councils are required to take reasonable steps to ensure that the goods and services they procure are not the product of modern slavery. State owned corporations are also required to monitor the risks of modern slavery in their supply chains. 

Read about the Anti-slavery Commissioner’s ‘First principles’ in combatting modern slavery in New South Wales


Prior to his appointment Dr Cockayne was an international lawyer, professor of global politics and anti-slavery leader. A former member of the World Economic Forum Global Futures Council for Equity and Social Justice, Dr Cockayne was a founder of Code 8.7, Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST) and the United Nations’ anti-slavery knowledge platform, Delta 8.7. Dr Cockayne has previously led the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research, the US Council on Foreign Relations Study Group on Human Trafficking, the Center for Global Counterterrorism Cooperation, and the Transnational Crime Unit of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

Head shot of Dr James Cockayne
Dr James Cockayne, Anti-Slavery Commissioner

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Last updated:

12 Apr 2024