This briefing note was developed by ReThink Orphanages Australia and the ACFID Child Rights Community of Practice to assist entities in Australia and abroad who have orphanages in their supply chains and/or operations to understand the implications of Australia’s Modern Slavery Act 2018.
Whilst only approximately 3000 large entities will be required to report under the Act, the ripple effect of the legislation is expected to be much wider. It will likely impact smaller entities in Australia and abroad who are part of large entities’ supply chains and/or connected to their operations. It is also anticipated that the Act will affect a shift in Australian business culture, incentivising a ‘race to the top’ as the general public and consumers become more aware of issues of modern slavery and look for responsible and ethical businesses to support. As such smaller companies/entities who are not required to report yet who are involved with overseas orphanages may benefit from this guidance as they seek to keep pace with changing public expectations. It may also assist entities who choose to voluntarily report, as allowed for under the Act.
This briefing note provides a definition of 'orphanages' and an overview of 'orphanage trafficking.' It also explains how 'a ready supply of generous people who are willing to give of their time and resources to support children in orphanages drives the demand for children to be in institutions' and describes how entities that operate in Australia are involved in this. The note then outlines the implications of the Modern Slavery Act for reporting entities as well as the potential impacts and implications for non-reporting entities.