Paper promises? Evaluating the early impact of Australia’s Modern Slavery Act

Corporate social responsibility Slavery Imports Legislation Supply chain Australia

The Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) was widely hailed as a critical first step by Australia towards tackling the global problem of modern slavery, with the government proclaiming that it would transform the way businesses respond to modern slavery by prompting a business-led ‘race to the top’.

This report examines statements submitted to the federal government's Modern Slavery Register by 102 companies sourcing from four sectors with known risks of modern slavery: garments from China, rubber gloves from Malaysia, seafood from Thailand and fresh produce from Australia.

Key findings:

  • Companies are failing to comply with the mandatory reporting requirements.
  • Companies are failing to identify or disclose obvious modern slavery risks.
  • Companies are failing to demonstrate effective actions to address risks.
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