}

Business & Human Rights

Modern Slavery

The International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Walk Free estimate that in 2021, there were 50 million people living in conditions of modern slavery, including 28 million being subjected to forced or compulsory labour. The Asia-Pacific region has the highest prevalence of forced labour of any region in the world, with four out of every 1000 people estimated to be subjected to forced labour.

Modern slavery in its many forms — forced labour, debt bondage and the worst forms of child labour, among others — continues to affect millions around the world. Whilst global supply chains generate financial growth, employment, skill development and technology transfer, the presence of pervasive human rights violations, such as modern slavery, significantly hinders Sustainable Development.

Business participants of the UN Global Compact have made the commitment to our Ten Principles including:

  • Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights
  • Principle 2: Businesses should make sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses
  • Principle 4: Businesses should uphold the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour
  • Principle 5: Businesses should uphold the effective abolition of child labour

The UN Global Compact Network Australia supports Australian participants to meet the Ten Principles and broader commitments made under the UN Global Compact, through the delivery of publications, training and network engagement.

Get Involved

The UN Global Compact Network Australia convenes an annual multi-sector, multi-stakeholder Business and Human Rights dialogue. Register your interest at secretariat@unglobalcompact.org.au.

Contact us

To find out more about our Business and Human Rights workstream, contact:

Chris Caskey

Chris Caskey

Business and Human Rights Manager

Modern Slavery Community of Practice (MSCoP)

To help Australian businesses 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. To ensure the MSCoP programming is targeted and relevant for all attendees, we run three separate streams (Optimising, Implementing and SME).

Each stream within the UNGCNA Modern Slavery Community of Practice comprises a small, interactive group that meets at least bi-annually and operates under the Chatham House Rule.

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.

2024 MSCoP sessions

The complete schedule for the 2024 Modern Slavery Community of Practice will be released shortly.

Joint Session A focus on the principle of ‘continuous improvement’ 7 March 2024 Virtual Invitation Only
Optimising Stream TBA April (TBA) Virtual TBA
Implementing Stream TBA May (TBA) Virtual TBA
SME Stream TBA June (TBA) Virtual TBA

The Terms of Reference for our Modern Slavery Community of Practice can be found here. If you have not yet received an invitation for a session listed above, or would like to learn more about joining the Modern Slavery Community of Practice, please contact us.

Bite-sized Learning

UNGCNA periodically releases Bite-sized Learning videos unpacking key modern slavery risk management issues and trends for Australian businesses.

Publications

UNGCNA periodically publishes research designed to assist business respond to modern slavery and broader human rights risks. These publications are also designed to support businesses to better report under the Australian Modern Slavery Act.

 

Cover Title About Link
Business integration of Human Rights Due Diligence in Australia: Modern Slavery and Beyond Since the introduction of Australia’s Modern Slavery Act (Cth) in 2018 over 7,000 businesses have prepared and filed a modern slavery statement with the Online Register established by the Australian Government. While modern slavery remains a severe risk to people working within the operations and value chains of Australian businesses, this report has been designed to provide businesses a broader view of the range of human rights impacts with which they may be involved.

This publication also provides practical examples of actions that businesses can take to expand their focus to assess and address broader human rights impacts in addition to modern slavery in line with the UNGPs.

Publications Library
Modern Slavery Risk Management: A playbook for Australian SMEs

This publication is designed to help small to medium-sized
businesses (SMEs) in Australia meet their responsibility to
respect the right of all workers within their operations and
supply chains to be free from modern slavery. It was written by the UN Global Compact Network Australia (UNGCNA).

Publications Library
Modern Slavery within Maritime Shipping Supply Chains

This publication is designed to help Australian businesses uphold their responsibility to respect the human rights of seafarers within their supply chains, including freedom from modern slavery in all its forms. It was written by the UN Global Compact Network Australia (UNGCNA) in partnership with the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), with support from the Australian Branch of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) Australian Inspectorate.

Publications Library
Effective Modern Slavery Grievance Mechanisms: A Case Study Publication for Business This publication aims to increase Australian businesses’ understanding of effective grievance mechanisms that can address modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and to equip businesses to establish and operate these mechanisms. This will support businesses to describe their actions to respond to modern slavery risks, including remediation processes — a requirement of the Australian Act. Publications Library
Effective Modern Slavery Grievance Mechanisms: A Guidance Note for Business This publication aims to provide practical advice to support businesses at all stages of designing and implementing effective business-led grievance mechanisms to hear and address complaints about modern slavery in their operations and their supply chains. The guide may be particularly useful for businesses reporting either voluntarily or compulsorily under Australia’s Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (Australian Act), as well as businesses implementing key voluntary standards. Publications Library

 

Regulatory engagement on Modern Slavery

As a leading voice and platform for learning and action, UNGCNA has built a strong reputation for supporting businesses to tackle modern slavery and regularly engages with government and regulatory bodies on the design and operation of modern slavery laws and regulations in Australia. Select public submissions relating to modern slavery can be found below:

Get Involved

Register your interest to be involved in our Modern Slavery program, or to join our nationwide Modern Slavery Community of Practice at secretariat@unglobalcompact.org.au.

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