Business & Human Rights

Modern Slavery

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that there are over 40 million people globally experiencing modern slavery, with 75 percent of these people living in the Asia-Pacific region — including in Australia and Australian supply chains.

Modern slavery in its many forms — human trafficking, forced labour and debt bondage among others — continues to affect millions around the world. The complexity of corporate supply chains means that very few companies can say with certainty that they have no modern slavery in their supply chains.

Whilst global supply chains generate financial growth, employment, skill development and technology transfer, the presence of pervasive human rights violations, like modern slavery, will hinder achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Supply chain transparency is key.

In 2020 we saw the first ‘Modern Slavery Statements’ under the Australian Modern Slavery Act published. Australian companies are increasingly recognising that they need to know and show that they are managing modern slavery risks.

Effective Modern Slavery Grievance Mechanisms: Publication Series

To support businesses to increase their understanding and capacity to implement effective grievance mechanisms that can hear and address modern slavery, the UN Global Compact Network Australia (UNGCNA) has produced two publications. These publications are also designed to support businesses to better report under the Australian Modern Slavery Act.

The Case Study Report offers a basis for understanding expectations set out in the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). It also provides case studies of Australian and international businesses and organisations taking action to design and implement grievance mechanisms to tackle modern slavery.

The associated Guidance Note provides practical advice, flags key considerations, and outlines good practice steps for designing and implementing effective grievance mechanisms.

Download the Publications from our Publications Library.

Modern Slavery Community of Practice

To help Australian business navigate new developments and share learnings in a safe space, the UN Global Compact Network Australia (UNGCNA) hosts a Modern Slavery Community of Practice (MSCoP) for business members.

The UNGCNA Modern Slavery Community of Practice is a small, interactive forum that operates under the Chatham House Rule. The Community of Practice meets quarterly.

The purpose of the Community of Practice is:

  • To connect participating UNGCNA members and enable learning and discussion on the opportunities and challenges facing Australian business relating to identifying, managing and communicating modern slavery risks.
  • To identify and share leading modern slavery interventions to enable members and other Australian-based organisations to improve their modern slavery risk management program, in line with the principle of continuous improvement.
  • To support members in preparing for further regulatory movement on modern slavery and human rights due diligence.

Get Involved

Register your interest in joining the Modern Slavery Community of Practice at secretariat@unglobalcompact.org.au.

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