Modern slavery is an umbrella term used to cover slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking, which are defined by several international standards.
Modern slavery is serious exploitation of people. It includes trafficking in persons (including organ removal), slavery, servitude, sexual exploitation, forced marriage, forced labour, debt bondage, deceptive recruiting for labour or services, and the worst forms of child labour.
Forced labour is common in industries such as hospitality, construction, forestry, mining or agriculture, as well as in intimate relationships.
Every business should understand the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It forms the basis for anti-slavery legislation and implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework.
Is there modern slavery in Australia?
Yes. According to the Walk Free Foundation Global Slavery Index 2018, there were around 15,000 people living in Australia under modern slavery conditions in 2016.
To help combat both local and global modern slavery, the Australian Federal Government has developed a National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-2025. As part of its action plan it introduced The Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act in 2018 (the Act) which commenced operation from 1 January 2019.
The Act imposes a legal requirement for large entities to report on modern slavery risks in their operations and supply chains. The Australian Government maintains an online register for Modern Slavery Statements provided by entities reporting under the Act.
We want to help our clients make a contribution to local and global efforts to help eradicate modern slavery.
Modern slavery supply chain due diligence will require having a robust framework comprising of key elements to address modern slavery risks. The following diagram describes such a framework.
The risk of modern slavery will vary for each organisation. Businesses must understand their supply chain risk, implement processes to minimise the risks and remedy harm caused. They must also leverage their power to influence actions other entities that may not have to comply with the Act. This is how we can help.
We can help draft a clear Modern Slavery Statement (MSS) that reflects your current practices. The MSS should also include opportunities for improvement to meet the requirements of the Act.
We can review your supply chain and conduct due diligence to identify potential high risk suppliers based on region, industry, products and raw materials. We can also develop a procurement checklist and risk assessment process to minimise supply chain modern slavery risks.
We can help design and implement a modern slavery framework. We review your current procurement practices and help update policies, define roles and responsibilities. We can also update whistleblowing, grievance and remediation procedures, as well as supplier contracts.
Using our vendor management technology, we can help establish and co-ordinate credible third party assessments of your supply chain. This helps to identify potential issues, their causes, and the appropriate response.
Once the framework is established, we can deliver face-to-face or on-line awareness training to help communicate your modern slavery expectations to all staff and suppliers.
We can help evaluate the effectiveness of your current policies, internal control systems and processes designed to eliminate modern slavery. Our report identifies key gaps and opportunities for improvement.