Dr James Cockayne has been appointed as the NSW Anti-slavery Commissioner to help combat the scourge of modern slavery.

Attorney General Mark Speakman said Dr Cockayne brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked with a variety of government, private sector and international organisations to combat modern slavery.

“Dr Cockayne has spent years developing policies which can help communities to identify and respond to modern slavery,” Mr Speakman said.

“NSW was the first State or Territory in Australia to introduce standalone legislation to stop modern slavery and this appointment is the next step in facilitating compliance.”

Under the laws, which came into effect on 1 January 2022, 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.

The Anti-slavery Commissioner will have broad oversight over Government policies addressing modern slavery, issue codes of practice and maintain a public register identifying government agencies which do not comply. The Commissioner will also help identify and support victims of modern slavery, advocate for action to combat modern slavery and cooperate with businesses and non-governmental organisations combatting modern slavery.

Dr Cockayne will commence his five-year term of appointment on 1 August 2022.


Dr James Cockayne is an international lawyer and Professor of Global Politics and Anti-Slavery at the University of Nottingham. A member of the World Economic Forum Global Futures Council for Equity and Social Justice, he founded both Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST) (together with the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Liechtenstein and The Netherlands) 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 Working Group on Human Trafficking, the Center for Global Counterterrorism Cooperation, and the Transnational Crime Unit of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

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