Trafficking victims hold hands and support each other

Australia’s Modern Slavery Act 2018

On 29 November 2018, the Modern Slavery Bill 2018 (Cth) was passed in both Houses of Parliament in Australia and subsequently received royal assent. The Act requires certain large businesses and other entities carrying on business in Australia with an annual revenue of at least 100 million Australian dollars to submit an annual Modern Slavery Statement. The Australian Government is also required to publish an annual Modern Slavery Statement. These reports will be published online on a central register.

The reporting entity must submit their Modern Slavery Statement to the Minister of Home Affairs within six months of the end of their financial year. The statement must detail the following:
· the entity’s structure, operations and supply chains;
· the potential modern slavery risks in the entity’s operations and supply chains;
· actions the entity has taken to assess and address those risks, including due diligence and remediation processes; and
· how the entity assesses the effectiveness of those actions.

Organisations that fail to comply by this Modern Slavery Act may face reputational damage by consumers and be publicly identified. The legislation will be reviewed after three years of its commencement.

The Act defines ‘modern slavery’ as practices including “trafficking in persons, slavery, slavery-like practices (including forced labour and forced marriage) and the worst forms of child labour (including using children for prostitution or in hazardous work)”.

The Act identifies the high risk of Australian businesses exposed to modern slavery risks. It is estimated that of the 40 million victims of modern slavery worldwide, over half of these victims are exploited in the Asia-Pacific region. The supply chains of numerous large Australian businesses operate in this region.

The introduction of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia is a significant step in helping to mitigate the risk of modern slavery practices occurring in the supply chains of goods and services in the Australian market.

The entire Modern Slavery Bill 2018 (Cth) can be accessed here.

Post written by Marianne Rozario