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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 2016 Global Slavery Index estimated that there are over 45 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 between 4,000-5,000 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. Modern Slavery resources dedicated to the Asia Pacific region will be developed during the coming months.

The aim of the resources below, gathered from both the 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.  

In addition to this the resources provide information designed to help organisations understand the requirement of the UK Act and provide resources that can be used by School Partners and Members alike in order to ensure that victims are identified, supported and systems improved so that risks can be eliminated from within the supply chain.

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 2016 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 2016 
  • (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