What is Modern Slavery?
The word ‘slavery’ is often associated with human rights infringements imposed centuries ago by wealthy and privileged landowners 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 2018 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 may be on the low side. Slavery today – or ‘modern slavery’ – can take many different forms and refers to instances of human exploitation where the victim cannot refuse or leave.
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.
Modern Slavery Legislation in Australia
In early 2017 the Australian Government started an Inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia, and since then there has been a steadily 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.
The Australian Government introduced a Modern Slavery Bill which passed both Houses in November 2018 and is now working on the supporting regulations and guidance documents.
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.
We hope you find these resources useful but should you have any queries, suggestions, or need additional information please contact [email protected]