What is Modern Slavery?
Modern slavery describes serious exploitation and use of coercion, threats or deception to undermine a person’s freedom. This includes human trafficking, slavery, servitude, forced marriage, forced labour, debt bondage, the worst forms of child labour, and deceptive recruiting for labour or services.
Modern slavery is a current issue – with victims of modern slavery estimated to be in the tens of thousands in Australia annually. The human impacts of modern slavery are devastating and far-reaching, causing serious harm to individuals and the wider community
Modern slavery’s negative impact on business
From a business perspective, a failure to address risks of modern slavery can be damaging to the quality of the supply chain, business reputation, and can pose a critical legal risk. It is therefore essential that businesses maintain a sharp focus on modern slavery risks, the means of addressing them, and requirements under Australian law.
Now more than ever, consumers, stakeholders, and employees are looking to a company’s ESG efforts to assess whether they align with their own personal values. Businesses that fail to progress with constantly changing environmental, social, and governance standards risk losing stakeholders and staying ahead of the curve. Addressing modern slavery in the supply chain is smart business – it’s undeniable.
What are my modern slavery legal obligations?
Businesses have a duty to monitor and address risks of modern slavery in the supply chain. The Modern Slavery Act (2018) brought into force the national Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement, requiring large businesses and other entities to prepare annual Modern Slavery Statements.
Under the legislation, Australian businesses that meet certain criteria must set out what actions they are taking to address modern slavery within their global supply chains and operations. This is a complex process involving reporting on actions taken such as due diligence and remediation, risk mitigation processes including policies to address modern slavery, supplier contract terms and employee training and auditing. It also involves addressing the effectiveness of action taken.
Companies may face challenges in meeting their reporting obligations if staff are not provided with comprehensive training about modern slavery, one of the key criteria to be included in a report.
Problems with modern slavery reporting
New research shows that 3 out of 4 companies are not complying with the Modern Slavery Legislation. In addition, failing the reporting requirements of needing to identify risks of forced labour in their supply chains.
If companies continue to fail and don’t rise to the challenge of meeting the voluntary reporting regime of the legislation, calls to introduce penalties for non compliance will surely be actioned.
Often, reporting is a laborious and time-consuming process involving delving deep into global supply chains to identify and mitigate against risk. A failure to comply, however, can constitute a breach of legislation and can prove severely harmful to a business’ reputation. It is therefore crucial that all reporting obligations are met.
Since the inception of the Modern Slavery Act in 2018, organisations have focused valuable resources to comply with the reporting regime. Interpretation and understanding of the legislation has placed a burden on legal counsel, procurement, training and compliance departments.
How you can streamline your modern slavery reporting
Don’t let a failure to report be the chink in your business’ reputational and financial armour.
Preview Safetrac’s Modern Slavery Toolkit today, and gain access to see the Modern Slavery course and the Modern Slavery Questionnaire.
Enquire also how the course and questionnaire can be easily tailored to your business needs.
Reduce the strain on your internal legal, L&D and HR resources by engaging Safetrac for its
award-winning online training. Our Modern Slavery Course provides learners with a thorough understanding of what is modern slavery, the current legislation, how it impacts your business and customers, and what action/s they can take.
Hosted in Australia and supported by a local team, the Safetrac Compliance Platform is an intuitive, easy-to-use, online-hosted platform that places no burden on internal IT personnel or systems. The platform provides your business with a comprehensive series of compliance tools, that will allow you to schedule, deliver, manage and report on compliance auditing, surveying and training with ease.
Want a free demonstration of the platform, toolkit or any course?
We can set you up with online access to the platform, questionnaires, courseware and test assessment questions.
Get started by completing the below form.