As businesses become increasingly aware of the risks associated with modern slavery, many are looking for ways to measure the success of their modern slavery policy. The Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) seeks to address the issue of modern slavery in global supply chains by, amongst other things, requiring certain entities to prepare a modern slavery statement (MSS).
Whilst the Act does not explicitly require entities to measure the success of their MSS, businesses need to consider how they will evaluate the effectiveness of their statement to ensure that they are taking appropriate steps to address modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.
There are various metrics that businesses can use to evaluate the success of their MSS, including:
- The number of reports of modern slavery made to the business
- The number of investigations undertaken by the business into reports of modern slavery
- The number of cases of modern slavery identified by the business
- The number of prosecutions or other legal actions taken by the business about modern slavery
- The number and value of contracts terminated by the business due to modern slavery
- The number of financial resources committed by the business to address modern slavery
- The number of employees trained by the business on modern slavery
- The results of customer and supplier surveys on the business’s efforts to address modern slavery.
Each business will need to consider which metrics are most appropriate for them to use, depending on their size, structure and operations. Moreover, these metrics can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of a company’s modern slavery policy. By tracking these metrics, businesses can identify areas where their policy works well and improvements are needed.
Whilst these metrics may easily define what modern slavery is, the Modern Slavery Act in Australia is still new. As a result, it may take some time for businesses to develop systems and processes to accurately track and report on the success of their modern slavery policy using these metrics.
Indicators of Modern Slavery
When looking at the success of a modern slavery policy, it is also essential to consider the broader context in which it is operating. For example, a policy that prevents and responds to modern slavery incidents in one company may not be as effective in another company with a different business model or operating environment.
Ultimately, the success of combating modern slavery will depend on the specific context and objectives of the business. However, tracking the indicators of modern slavery provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of the policy and areas where improvements are needed.
Essential Indicators of Modern Slavery
According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, the suspected victim or victims of modern slavery are:
- Living on-site at their workplace or any other property owned/controlled by their employer
- Underpaid or not paid at all
- Required to work excessive hours
- Stuck at work or only allowed to leave during odd hours
- Guarded at work or in their accommodation
- Isolated in remote locations that are difficult to access
- Managed by an intermediary or third party who invests their money for them intending to make a profit
- Foreign workers are often subject to poorer working conditions than other employees based on their nationality, gender or other factors
- Unable to quit their job whenever they want
- Paying a debt owed to an employer or another person/entity
- Appear to experience or be threatened with violence, emotional, sexual, verbal or physical abuse and/or degrading treatment as part of their employment
- Someone may appear to have false travel or personal documents if they are not allowed access to these documents by their employer or a third party
- Appear to have been lied to about the conditions of their employment
- Do not receive contracts translated into a language and format they can understand.
- Are uninformed of or appear unable to understand the terms and conditions of their employment
- No access to protective equipment and no option to refuse to participate in dangerous work practices
- Individuals who work without the proper permissions or in breach of their visa requirements often face serious consequences.
Hence, submitting a well-furnished MSS can help show that you are proactive in combating modern slavery within your company as it would include the risk and vulnerability assessment of your company and the steps to prevent it.
4 Types of Modern Slavery
Slavery is often well-hidden, whether in domestic servitude, hospitality industry labour or agriculture. But what all these examples have in common is that someone is being forced to work under threat of reprisal and without pay.
- Human Trafficking: Human trafficking is the process of luring, harbouring or recruiting people by deception or force and then transporting them to another location where they are exploited for labour or sex.
- Slavery: Slavery is the process of owning, buying or selling people for exploitation.
- Servitude: Refers to making someone work against their will, usually under the threat of violence.
- Forced Labour: Forced labour is coercing people to work against their will under the threat of violence or other reprisals.
What Does a Modern Slavery Statement Do?
The MSS is a public document that provides information about an organisation’s efforts to address modern slavery risks in its operations and supply chains. The statement also demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to taking action against modern slavery.
Depending on whether you report modern slavery information voluntarily or through a mandate, the content of your entity’s statement will vary.
How Do You Prepare a Modern Slavery Statement?
All companies based in Australia or that do business in Australia with an annual revenue of $100 million must produce a modern slavery statement according to the Modern Slavery Act 2018. You may submit your modern slavery statement to the government or the Australian Border Force.
Essential Steps to Prepare a Modern Slavery Statement
Step 1. Visit the Modern Slavery Register website and review the guidance materials for your statement.
The Australian Government’s Modern Slavery Register website contains detailed guidance materials to help you write, submit and update your modern slavery statement.
Step 2. Compare Modern Slavery Statements from similar organisations
Reviewing other companies’ modern slavery statements can give you some ideas about what to include in your statement. The website contains a list of all the organisations that have submitted their statements.
Step 3. Draft your Modern Slavery Statement
Use the guidance materials and template to draft your statement. Make sure to include all the required information and address any applicable risks.
Step 4. Create a Modern Slavery Register account
Go to modernslaveryregister.gov.au and sign up by clicking the ‘Sign Up’ button in the top right corner. To create an account, you must provide a valid email address and mobile phone number.
Step 5. Submit your statement
The modern slavery register portal allows you to upload your modern slavery statement and any relevant supporting documents. This includes an approval document and a signed annexure statement.
How Madison Marcus Can Help You
Are you confused about how to get started on your modern slavery statement?
Madison Marcus specialises in modern slavery legislation and reporting. Our team can assist you with preparing your statement and ensure that it meets all the requirements of the Act. We can also provide ongoing support to help you review and update your statement.
For all enquiries, contact us here.