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Modern Slavery 


The word 'slavery' is often associated with human rights infringements imposed centuries ago by wealthy and privileged land owners across the globe.  By this reasoning the term would be considered redundant in today's more enlightened society.  

Unfortunately the reality is quite different; the recent Global Slavery Index estimated that there are over 40 million victims of Modern Slavery practices worldwide today and, due to the nature of the data, this figure is probably on the low side. 

While it is believed that there are around 15,000 people living in conditions of Modern Slavery in Australia, many Australian supply chains lead directly to the Asia Pacific region where there are estimated to be over 30 million people in situations including human trafficking, forced labour and debt bondage, as well as other breaches of an individual's basic human rights.


In 2015 the UK Government released the 'Modern Slavery Act 2015' that places an emphasis on companies to take responsibility in ensuring that there are no practices associated with slavery within their own organisation and which includes the requirement to focus on their supply chains too. 

The UK construction sector has made some progress in addressing issues relating to immigration and improving equality and diversity practices within the industry. The requirements of the UK's Modern Slavery Act now call upon suppliers to use some of this experience and look further into the supply chain requiring greater transparency and collaboration.

Key partners within the UK's Supply Chain Sustainability School collaborated to develop a consistent source of advice as well as processes that will enable the supply chain to not only respond to Modern Slavery Act requirements but go further in identifying best practice.


In early 2017 the Australian Government started an Inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia, meaning that there will be an increasing focus on this important topic.

The 'Hidden in Plain Sight' report, released in December 2017, sets out the case for a Modern Slavery Act for Australia providing details around definitions, transparency, responses and support, with legislation due to be introduced mid-2018.

The NSW Modern Slavery Bill passed in June 2018 is intended to cover public and private sector organisations with a turnover of more than $50 million operating with staff in NSW.

It is intended that the Australian Government will introduce a Modern Slavery Act late in 2018.

The aim of the resources below, gathered from both UK and Australian references, is to help organisations understand the need for greater collaboration in order to address any instances of Modern Slavery that may exist in the construction and infrastructure supply chains. Further Modern Slavery resources dedicated to the Asia Pacific region will be developed during the coming months.

You can download the School's report on Modern Slavery in Australian property, construction and infrastructure supply chains here.

We hope you find these resources useful but should you have any queries, suggestions, or need additional information please contact

Supply Chain School Guidance

  • Procurement Guidance
  •  (Procurement Guidance on how to embed best practice into your procurement when combating modern slavery, July 2016)

Australian and International resources

  • The Global Slavery Index 2018 Findings 
  • (The Global Slavery index provides a map, country by country, showing the estimated prevalence of modern slavery, together with information about the steps each government has taken to respond to this issue.)
  • Modern Slavery in the Asia Pacific Region 2018 
  • (Many Australian supply chains lead to the Asia Pacific - the most populous region of the world spanning from Afghanistan in the west, to New Zealand in the south-east, to Mongolia in the north.)

Other Resources