Financial Services and Modern Slavery: a guide to managing risks

Financial Services and Modern Slavery guide released

The Australian Human Rights Commission and KPMG Australia are today launching, Financial Services and Modern Slavery: Practical responses to managing risks to people a guide to help the sector respond effectively to the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) and other global human rights reporting obligations.


The Act requires large companies to report annually on their strategies to address risks of modern slavery in their global operations and supply chains.

Modern slavery refers to a range of serious human rights violations, which are also crimes in Australia.

They include:

  • human trafficking
  • slavery, servitude and forced marriage
  • forced labour, debt bondage and child labour
  • deceptive recruiting for labour or services.

According to the Global Slavery Index:

  • more than 40 million people around the world are living in modern slavery conditions
  • Up to 15,000 victims are living in Australia.

The guide is relevant not only to entities that are required to report under the Modern Slavery Act, but also to businesses connected to financial sector institutions through asset management, credit, insurance or investor relationships. “The financial services sector intersects with a range of modern slavery risk areas through its investments, assets, insurance and procurement supply chains,” said Richard Boele, Partner in Charge of KPMG Banarra Human Rights and Social Impact, Global Leader of Business and Human Rights Network, KPMG Australia.

There has been a global increase in stakeholder expectations around human rights, including a significant increase in community, regulator and investor scrutiny of human rights performance.

"The guide is part of a two-year collaboration between the Commission and KPMG which aims to support business to respond meaningfully to the modern slavery risks across a range of sectors,” said Commission President, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher.
“Effective management of modern slavery risks involves placing ‘risks to people’ at the heart of your response,” said Professor Croucher.

“The financial sector has significant leverage in the business community. As evidence mounts that respect for human rights enhances business resilience, financial sector institutions have a critical role to play in demonstrating and demanding better standards” said Mr Boele.

The guide showcases examples of current practice from the sector and provides good practice tips on how to manage key risk areas.

“Taking a rights-based approach to addressing modern slavery will assist your business to meet the increasing expectations of investors, governments, clients, consumers, business peers and civil society around business respect for human rights,” said President Croucher.

Guidance for other high-risk sectors, including the health, food and beverage and mining sectors are currently in development and will be released in coming months.

For further information

Whitney Fitzsimmons
0448 285 646

Georgia Waters
Human Rights Commission
0428 263 830

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