Australia: Govt launches online register of companies' compliance with laws against servitude, trafficking & forced labour
Author: Andrew Tillett, Financial Review, Published on: 29 July 2020
"Companies to face scrutiny over modern slavery", 30 July 2020
About 3000 businesses will have to begin publicising their efforts to eradicate modern slavery from their supply chains or risk corporate reputational damage.
The Morrison government is launching an online register [...] coinciding with World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, that will begin publishing companies' statements on their compliance with laws designed to stop the exploitation of workers through servitude, trafficking and forced labour.
“This is the world’s first government-run website of its kind, and will provide Australian consumers, investors and civil society with an unprecedented window into the global supply chains that produce the goods and services we use every day,” Assistant Customs Minister Jason Wood said.
The Australian Institute of Criminology estimates there are up to 1900 victims of modern slavery in Australia, while globally the United Nations has put the figure at more than 40 million.
Entities with a turnover of more than $100 million are required to submit their statements to the Australian Border Force.
While at this stage there are no financial penalties, if statements are not lodged, the government can name and shame companies that do not comply, providing a powerful incentive for them to act.
Industries that are at high risk of cases of modern slavery in their supply chains include agriculture, seafood, mining, textiles and construction.