17 May 2018
IJM Australia is hopeful about the Government’s proposed Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement but is concerned that the lack of penalties for non-compliance could make it difficult to mainstream compliance and create a cultural shift across industry. We believe this shift will be necessary in the fight to tackle slavery not only in Australia’s supply chains, but in the fight to tackle slavery and violence around the world.
The Australian Government’s proposed Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement is based on section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (UK) and requires businesses to produce an annual statement about the risk of modern slavery in their supply chains and the actions they are taking to address it. We are encouraged that the proposal addresses some of the weaknesses of the UK model and are consistent with the recommendations made to the Government by IJM Australia and other civil society organisations, but note that the effectiveness of the provision will depend on rigorous and sustained collaboration between business, civil society and the Government’s new Anti-Slavery Business Engagement Unit.
IJM Australia believes that the proposed Reporting Requirement does not go far enough to ensure increased transparency in Australian supply chains. Without a penalty mechanism, it is difficult to see how we can ensure that businesses are completing their annual statements in a way that is truly transparent and useful, and therefore have any impact on modern slavery in supply chains.
We believe that the objectives and funding arrangements of the Anti-Slavery Business Engagement Unit need to be clear and consistent. We would encourage continuous engagement and dialogue with businesses about their Modern Slavery Statements and the follow-up actions that should follow from them, and note that the $3.6 million spread over four years which ‘will be partially absorbed by the Department of Home Affairs’ may be insufficient to cover the significant and vital task of actively monitoring the compliance of more than 3000 companies caught under the Reporting Requirement.
Whilst we are encouraged that the Australian Government is taking steps to introduce a Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement, IJM Australia is concerned that the focus on reducing the risk of modern slavery in the supply chains of Australian businesses will fail to address inherent problems in the public justice systems of developing countries where Australian companies source their goods. IJM works with local authorities in developing countries to investigate and prosecute cases of modern slavery and we believe that strengthened legal systems in those countries will deter primary producers from offering goods tainted by slave labour to Australian companies and their suppliers in the first place.
We hope that supply chain transparency is only the first of many steps taken by Australian Government, business and civil society in partnership to ensure we confront the scourge of slavery at both ends of the supply chain.
International Justice Mission is a global organisation that partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen public justice systems.
You might also be interested in…
“Two women convicted for online sexual exploitation of children in Cebu City”
CEBU CITY – Two women pleaded guilty yesterday, 23 September, to offences related to the online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) in digital court proceedings. Under plea bargains, one was sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempted trafficking while the other was sentenced to six years in prison for a child abuse offence. Both
“Celebrating Restoration at Deonar Home”
MUMBAI, INDIA – Earlier this year, IJM, our partners and a group of survivors of sex trafficking were all able to gather for a special celebration of an aftercare shelter home which has touched the lives of hundreds of girls. On January 26, the Deonar Special Home celebrated 45 former residents and encouraged the 22
“Trauma-Informed Police Interview Room Piloted in Uganda”
Uganda Police Force and IJM Uganda have partnered to design and furnish a model interview room for CID headquarters in Kampala. This is to be used with women and children survivors of violence, including sexual assault, domestic violence and child sex offences. The model interview room is an important addition for UPF District Police Stations.
“Australian paedophile leads international police to rescue 13 children and 2 adults from cybersex trafficking”
BISLIG CITY, THE PHILIPPINES – On 20 August, a simultaneous sting operation at two different locations in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur resulted in the arrest of five suspects and the rescue of 15 victims from cybersex trafficking. This case started from a tip from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center (PICACC). The AFP referred cybersex trafficking of children case involving an Australian national arrested