Forced labour and debt bondage are widespread forms of modern slavery that exist within the complex supply chains that span our world. Though companies may unwittingly become involved in perpetuating this human exploitation they are increasingly being held responsible.
Organisations have the responsibility to respect human rights within their business activities and relationships. Creating clear policies and implementing effective systems is key to ensuring the ethical recruitment and treatment of workers.
Organisations must consider both reputational risk and corporate liability arising from international standards and national laws. Business and investors can play a major role in contributing towards social progress and are being placed under increasing levels of scrutiny to ensure they minimise the adverse impacts of their operations, supply chains and other business relationships.
In recent years, reporting and disclosure requirements have come into place that require entities to publish statements identifying the risk of modern slavery in their operations and supply chain as well as actions taken to address those risks. The UK and Australia have both introduced Modern Slavery Acts requiring large organisations to report on an annual basis. These obligations complement other international standards, such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
The financial sector is critical to the eradication of modern slavery due to its far-reaching and influential business relationships across all industry sectors. Business models reliant on modern slavery in their operations or supply chains not only come at high social cost, but are also unlikely to yield sustainable earnings growth over time. The resources below include financial sector guidance, investor engagement tools, and widely recognised principles-based frameworks to equip the sector to address modern slavery.
Migrant and informal workers face a heightened risk of exploitation through the COVID-19 health crisis. The combination of health, safety and economic risks creates the perfect storm for exploitation, forced labour and other forms of modern slavery to flourish. The list of resources below includes guidance, recommendations, and tools for business to protect workers during this time.