Business & Investor

This toolkit is designed to help businesses and investors take action to improve human rights standards in their supply chains and combat forced labour, human trafficking and other forms of modern slavery.

It contains links to case studies, research, legal frameworks and tools produced by Walk Free and other civil society organisations from around the world.

Photo Credit: Satwinder Singh Gill. EyeEm.

Understanding the problem

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.

Business guides to addressing modern slavery

Guidance on Modern Slavery Risks for Thai BusinessesStock Exchange of Thailand, Walk Free & Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking
Managing Risks Associated with Modern Slavery: A Good Practice Note for the Private SectorEthical Trading Initiative & Ergon Associates
Modern Slavery Benchmarking ToolStock Exchange of Thailand, Walk Free & Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking
Modern Slavery Risks, Rights and Responsibilities: A Guide for Companies and InvestorsAustralian Council of Superannuation Investors & KPMG
Property, Construction and Modern Slavery: Practical Responses for Managing Risk to PeopleAustralian Human Rights Commission and KPMG
Respecting Human Rights in our Supply ChainsEnergy Procurement Supply Association & Action Sustainability
What Business Needs to KnowWalk Free

Open source learning modules

Business and Human Rights TrainingNestlé and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (requires sign-up)
Modern Slavery ModulesSupply Chain Sustainability School (requires sign-up)

Awareness-raising videos

‘Can You Spot the Signs?’Supply Chain Sustainability School
Businesses and the Modern Slavery ActBe Slavery Free (Stop the Traffik Australia)
Trapped in Forced Labour – Lured by a JobInternational Labour Organization
What is Modern Slavery?Be Slavery Free (Stop the Traffik Australia)

Benchmarking tools and indices

These indices benchmark companies to empower consumers and other stakeholders with information on their operations, encouraging business engagement and improvements in rankings from year to year.

Brand DirectoryGood on You
Corporate Human Rights Benchmark
Ethical Fashion GuideBaptist World Aid
Fashion Transparency IndexFashion Revolution
Oxfam’s Behind the Brands: Company ScorecardOxfam

Global data on slavery and related risks

Commodity AtlasVerité
Corruption Perceptions IndexTransparency International
Global Peace IndexVision of Humanity
Global Slavery IndexWalk Free
List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced LaborUS Department of Labor
Measurement. Action. Freedom. An Independent Assessment of Government Progress Towards Achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 8.7Walk Free
Responsible Sourcing Tool
Trafficking in Persons ReportUS Department of State

Supply chain due diligence, codes of conduct, corrective action & remedy

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.

Codes of conduct and company policies

Company Action PlatformBusiness and Human Rights Resource Centre
Employment and Recruitment Agencies’ Sector guide on Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human RightsShift & Institute for Human Rights and Business
Example: Code of ConductResponsible Business Alliance
Example: Human Rights Due Diligence StandardAnglo Gold Ashanti
Example: Human Rights PolicyUnilever
Example: Supplier Code of ConductMicrosoft
Modern Slavery Model Contract ClausesAustralian Government
Sample Code of ConductResponsible Sourcing Tool
Verité Fair Hiring Toolkit: Improving Company Codes of Conduct and Company PoliciesVerité

Ethical recruitment tools

A Guide to Fair Recruitment of Migrant LabourInternational Labour Organization
Best Practice Guidance on Ethical Recruitment of Migrant WorkersInterfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility
Fees and IDs: Tackling Recruitment Fees and Confiscation of Workers’ PassportsInstitute for Human Rights and Business
General Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment and Definition of Recruitment Fees and Related CostsInternational Labour Organization
Migration with Dignity: A Guide to Implementing the Dhaka PrinciplesInstitute for Human Rights and Business
Six Steps to Responsible RecruitmentThe Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment

Supply chain transparency

A Small Business Guide to Supply Chain MappingBusiness Advice
Example: Ethical Sourcing RoadmapKonica Minolta
Example: Supplier Self-Assessment QuestionnaireWA Modern Slavery Collaborative Group
The Path to Supply Chain TransparencyDeloitte University Press
Verité Fair Hiring Toolkit: Reporting and TransparencyVerité

Grievance mechanisms, corrective action and remediation

Access to Remedy – Practical Guidance for CompaniesEthical Trading Initiative
Effective Modern Slavery Grievance Mechanisms: A Case Study Publication for BusinessUN Global Compact Network Australia
Establishing Effective Grievance Mechanisms and Protection for WhistleblowersVerité
Example: Responsible Sourcing Standards: Supplier Guidance on Developing Grievance MechanismsWoolworths Group
Example: Third Party Complaint ProcessAdidas
Example: Workplace Monitoring ReportsFair Labor Association
Implementing Effective Modern Slavery Grievance Mechanisms: A Guidance Note for BusinessUN Global Compact Network Australia
Operational-Level Grievance MechanismsFederal Institute for Sustainable Development (Belgium)
Remediation and Grievance MechanismsBusiness Respect Human Rights
Remediation, Grievance Mechanisms and the Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human RightsShift
The WEST PrinciplesWorker Engagement Supported by Technology (WEST)
Verité Fair Hiring Toolkit: Corrective Action and Systems Improvement PlansVerité

Legal obligations and frameworks

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.

National and regional supply chain transparency and due diligence laws

Australia: Modern Slavery Act (2018)
California: Transparency in Supply Chains Act (2010)
European Union: Regulation of Due Diligence (2017)
France: Duty of Vigilance Legislation (2017)
Key Legislation Driving Responsible BusinessSedex
Labour Exploitation Accountability DatabaseFocus on Labour Exploitation & The Freedom Fund
The Netherlands: Child Labour Laws (2017)
United Kingdom: Modern Slavery Act (2015)
USA: Dodd-Frank Act (2010)
USA: Tariff Act (1930)

International standards and frameworks

ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at WorkInternational Labour Organization
ILO Tri-Partite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social PolicyInternational Labour Organization
OECD Due Diligence Guidelines for Responsible Business ConductOECD
OECD Guidelines for Multinational EnterprisesOECD
Overview of Key ILO ConventionsBali Process Government and Business Forum
UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human RightsUnited Nations

Modern slavery reporting

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.


Addressing Modern Slavery in Government Supply Chains: A toolkit of resources for Government Procurement OfficersAustralian Border Force
Example: Draft Modern Slavery Clause OptionsAustralian Border Force
Guidance for Reporting EntitiesAustralian Border Force
Modern Slavery RegistryBusiness & Human Rights Resource Centre
Modern Slavery Statements: A Framework for EvaluationEthical Trading Alliance
Quick Guide to Writing a Voluntary Modern Slavery StatementBali Process Government and Business Forum
Transparency in Supply Chains: A Practical GuideUK Home Office
UN Guiding Principles Reporting FrameworkUnited Nations

Analysis and case studies

Beyond Compliance in the Hotel Sector: A Review of UK Modern Slavery Act StatementsWalk Free & WikiRate
Beyond Compliance: The Modern Slavery Act Research ProjectWalk Free & Wiki Rate
Example: Modern Slavery StatementMarks & Spencer

Financial sector tools

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.

Financial sector general guidance

Beyond Compliance in the Finance Sector: A Review of Statements Produced by Asset Managers Under the UK Modern Slavery ActWalk Free, WikiRate and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Fighting Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Online CourseAssociation of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists
Human Rights for the Financial Sector Guidance ToolUNEP Finance Initiative
Implementation ToolkitFinance Against Slavery & Trafficking
Performance StandardsInternational Finance Corporation
Roadmap for Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 2019-2021United Nations

Investors (asset owners and asset managers)

Engagement Expectations: Find it, Fix it, Prevent itCCLA
From Poor Working Conditions to Forced Labour – What’s Hidden in Your Portfolio?Principles for Responsible Investment
How Responsible Investors Should Respond to the COVID-19 Coronavirus CrisisPrinciples for Responsible Investment
Human Rights Reporting: Are Companies Telling Investors What They Need to Know?Shift
Human Rights Risks in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region – Practical Guidance for InvestorsInvestor Alliance for Human Rights
Investor Primer of Grievance MechanismsEngage the Chain
Investor Toolkit on Human RightsInvestor Alliance for Human Rights
Modern Slavery Reporting – Guide for InvestorsResponsible Investment Association Australasia, Australian Council of Superannuation Investors
Modern Slavery Risks, Rights and Responsibilities: A Guide for Companies and InvestorsAustralian Council of Superannuation Investors & KPMG
Responsible Business Conduct for Institutional InvestorsOECD
RI Review ToolPrinciples for Responsible Investment

Commercial banks and insurers

Conferences and TrainingsAssociation of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists
Principles for Responsible BankingUNEP Finance Initiative
Principles for Sustainable InsuranceUNEP Finance Initiative
The Equator Principles IV, July 2020The Equator Principles Association

Mitigating impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable workers

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.

Reports and recommendations

COVID-19 and Vulnerability to Human TRafficking for Forced LaborVerité
COVID-19 Migrant Workers BriefingEthical Trading Initiative
Insights Report: COVID-19 Impacts on BusinessesSedex
No Worker Left Behind: Protecting Vulnerable Workers from Exploitation During and After the Coronavirus (COVID-19) PandemicFocus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX)
Protecting People in a PandemicWalk Free
Protecting Workers During and After the Global PandemicFair Labor Association
Respecting Human Rights in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Examining Companies’ Responsibilities for Workers and Affected CommunitiesInstitute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB)

Tools and guidelines

COVID Company CommitmentsBaptist World Aid
COVID-19 Rapid Human Rights Due Diligence Tool for CompaniesBusiness for Social Responsibility (BSR)
COVID-19 Tracker: Which Brands Are Acting Responsibly Toward Suppliers and Workers?Worker Rights Consortium
Effective Infection Control Practices and Policies for Operating Apparel and Textile FactoriesWorker Rights Consortium
Guidance for Businesses, Managing the Impacts of COVID-19 on Employees and Workers in Supply ChainsSedex
Guidance to Apparel and Textile Members on Payment of Orders to WorkersEthical Trading Initiative
Guidelines for Better Purchasing Practice Amidst the Coronavirus Crisis and RecoveryBetter Buying Institute
Modern Slavery Act Information Sheet: CoronavirusAustralian Border Force
Practical Guide to Responsible Recruitment During and Coming Out of COVID-19Stronger Together & Responsible Recruitment Toolkit (RRT)
Responding to COVID-19 Series: Addressing Modern Slavery Worker VulnerabilityThe Mekong Club
Responding to COVID-19 Series: Modern Slavery and Financial ServicesThe Mekong Club
Responding to COVID-19 Series: Modern Slavery Within the Hospitality SectorThe Mekong Club

Websites and resource hubs

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Outbreak: In Depth AreaBusiness and Human Rights Resource Centre
COVID-19 and the World of WorkInternational Labour Organization (ILO)
COVID-19 Resource HubResponsible Business Alliance
COVID-19 Response WebsiteInternational Organization for Migration (IOM), Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST)
Reports on Labor-Related Impacts of COVID-19Verité
Tackling the CoronavirusOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

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