Modern Slavery is the serious exploitation of other people for personal or commercial gain. An estimated 40 million people are victims of modern slavery worldwide, including within Australia.
While few businesses would knowingly engage in exploitative practices, we all share a collective responsibility to guarantee our goods and services are not products of modern slavery.
The Modern Slavery Act 2018, requires Australian entities (or a foreign entity carrying out business in Australia) with an annual consolidated revenue of AU$100 million to prepare a Modern Slavery Statement. The statement needs to be reported annually, covering a 12-month reporting period aligned to your financial reporting year.
There are benefits even if your business is not required to report under the Commonwealth legislation as preparing a draft modern slavery statement helps to reduce the risk of modern slavery within your organisation and supply chains. It also demonstrates leadership and is a tangible way of putting your values into action.
The term modern slavery is used to describe situations where coercion, threats or deception are used to exploit victims and undermine or deprive them of their freedom. The Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act 2018 defines modern slavery as including eight types of serious exploitation including:
- Trafficking in persons
- Forced marriage
- Forced labour
- Debt bondage
- Deceptive recruiting for labour or services
- The worst forms of child labour – Situations where children are subjected to slavery or similar or engaged in hazardous work
Legislation is now in place requiring all Australian organisations with an annual revenue of greater than $100 million to prepare and publish a modern slavery statement The statement must address seven criteria including the identification of the risk of modern slavery within business operations and supply chains and setting out steps to address the risk.
Sustainable organisations committed to acting ethically do not tolerate modern slavery, servitude, human trafficking or forced labour. Taking action not only helps to identify potential victims of modern slavery it ensures compliance with the legislation and helps to continually improve performance.
Addressing the risk of modern slavery also helps address Sustainable Development Goal 8.7:
“Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”
As sustainability specialists, Cress Consulting is ideally positioned to assist you identify the risk of modern slavery occurring in your business, set out steps to address that risk and prepare and submit your Modern Slavery Statement.