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Modern slavery is a term used to describe situations where coercion, threats or deception are used to exploit victims and undermine or deprive them of their freedom.
Modern slavery does not include practices such as substandard working conditions or underpayments of workers. However, these may be considered ‘red flags’ when assessing the risks of modern slavery in a supply chain.
The construction sector is considered to be a high-risk sector for modern slavery. Sectors characterised by labour-intensive, temporary and irregular work can be at a higher risk of forced labour, especially when activities are performed through low skilled and low-wage jobs.
A Modern Slavery Statement (MSS) must identify the risks of modern slavery in a business’s supply chain and address seven mandatory criteria:
For example, clearly set out the name of your business on the front page of the MSS.
Risk of modern slavery practices means the potential for your business to cause, contribute to or be directly linked to modern slavery through your operations and supply chain.
Due diligence means ongoing management processes to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how your business addresses actual and potential modern slavery risks.
Remediation means that if you have caused or contributed to the adverse impacts of modern slavery you should try to ‘make good’ by restoring the victim to the position they would have been in had those adverse impacts not occurred.
While you are not required to determine if your actions to address modern slavery have been effective, you must explain what you are doing to check whether your actions to assess modern slavery risks are working such as monitoring specific steps you have taken.
This only applies if you own or control other businesses.
May not be applicable.
There is no set template for preparing a MSS. Businesses are encouraged to report and address the mandatory criteria in a way that best suits their operations.
The Act does not require you to report on specific cases or allegation in your entity’s statement or to certify that your entity’s operations and supply chains are ‘slavery free’.
An MSS must be approved by the board of directors, signed by a company director and submitted to the Australian Border Force for publication on an online publicly available central register.
If your business is required to prepare an MSS, it is recommended that you begin now to ask the following questions about your business in order to understand your supply chain and help to write your MSS:
For further information, view the ‘Guidance for Reporting entities’ published by the Department of Home Affairs.
Businesses in the UK have been required to provide MSS since 2015. The UK Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has a range of useful resources that may also assist.
This information is part of a series on modern slavery reporting requirements aimed at assisting members understand the requirements. See the related documents contained in the ‘What to read next’ section for more information.
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