June 2021

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2021

There is an international trend towards the mitigation of modern slavery which is also being implemented recently across Asia-Pac, and has an impact on staffing within financial services firms and also affects their suppliers. According to the International Labour Organization, more than 40 million people globally live and work in slave-like conditions, with over 15,000 of these individuals residing in Australia. The CV19 pandemic has further highlighted potential risks within this space, as many European nations in particular look to implement legislation beyond the soft mandatory reporting and due diligence guidelines encouraged by the UN and OECD.

The financial services industry is a high-risk sector, constantly exposed to the detriments of modern slavery, human trafficking, domestic servitude, deceptive and forced labour and debt bondage. In order to combat these illegal and immoral activities, Australia enforced new legislation under their own Modern Slavery Act‘An Act to require some entities to report on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains and actions to address those risks, and for related purposes’.

The legislation requires large Australian and foreign entities conducting business in Australia to report annually on the potential risks occurring in their operations and supply chains, and the active processes they are undertaking to address and prevent modern slavery. The Australian Modern Slavery Act is explicit that those grossing over $100m in annual revenue should produce yearly reports to the public on potential modern slavery amongst their business dealings. Whilst the Act may fall short of its imperative trajectory to combat illegal slavery activities, it is the overarching influence of the larger banks, superannuation funds and mining operations to display transparency of risks in their business and be the dominant voice combating modern slavery. There is a reliance on these particular Australian organisations to openly declare integrated programs in their business which monitor, identify and address money laundering and financing terrorism, thorough customer vetting and reporting of suspicious transactions. Failure to do so puts the organisation at risk of criminal offences.

While the Modern Slavery Act was introduced a few years ago, we are now seeing financial services firms implement policies to reduce modern slavery in all its forms, and work with their suppliers to ensure that the industry works to eliminate such issues across every location in the region.

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