What is modern slavery?
The Australian Government describes Modern Slavery as situations where offenders use coercion, threats or deception to exploit victims and undermine their freedom. Practices that constitute modern slavery can include:
- Human trafficking
- Forced labour
- Debt bondage
- Forced marriage, and
- The worst forms of child labour
Modern slavery is a term used to describe serious exploitation. It does not include practices like substandard working conditions or underpayment of workers. These practices are also harmful and may be present in some situations of modern slavery.
Modern slavery can occur in every industry and sector and has severe consequences for victims. It also distorts global markets, undercuts responsible business and can pose significant legal and reputational risks to entities.
As an essential service provider, our decisions and actions have the potential to significantly impact our people, customers, communities and shareholders.
We understand the importance of responsible procurement and ensuring that ethical, environmental and social considerations form part of our decision-making processes. That's why we're taking a proactive approach to identifying modern slavery and other labour rights risks across our operations and supply chain.
We're committed to improving our understanding and management of modern slavery risks and we expect that our approach to managing modern slavery and human rights risks will continue to evolve as we refine our practices and building our knowledge and capacity across our business.
How to report suspected instances of modern slavery
We’re committed to delivering our products and services to the community in a way that’s consistent with our values and protects human rights.
We’ve developed and implemented a Modern Slavery Response Protocol which outlines the steps to report modern slavery exploitation (that is, forced and bonded labour and human trafficking). Anyone who suspects any instances of modern slavery in our supply chains and worksites is encouraged to follow these steps. Importantly:
- If someone is in immediate danger, or a child is concerned, dial 000.
- Do not engage further with the supplier on the allegation.
- Do not attempt to further investigate or verify the allegation.
- Maintain privacy and confidentiality of complainants where necessary.
We all have a responsibility to ensure our workplace, operations and supply chains are free from this type of exploitation and abuse. Download our Modern Slavery Response Protocol here.
In accordance with the Act, Urban Utilities’ Modern Slavery Statement provides information on our structure, operations and supply chain, as well as the actions taken to identify and mitigate modern slavery within our operations and across our supplier chains.
Further information and resources
You can find more information about modern slavery generally, in Australia and internationally, from the following sources:
- Department of Home Affairs website.
- Global Slavery Index provides a country by country ranking of the number of people in modern slavery, as well as an analysis of the actions governments are taking to respond.
- The Freedom Partnership is a national movement to ensure Australians do not contribute to the global problem of slavery and that people are not enslaved in Australia.
We've also prepared a Modern Slavery Factsheet which provides details on what modern slavery is, reporting requirements under the Act, the impact for us and what it means for our suppliers.