Improving the Regulation of Modern Slavery

RMIT Researchers

  • Associate Professor Shelley Marshall
  • Dr Annie Delaney

Project Description

Reducing modern slavery in global supply chains is an Australian Government and global strategic priority. There are currently more than 25 million people working in forced labour in global and local supply chains. The presence of modern slavery within local and global supply chains of Australian business poses considerable reputational and regulatory risk. More than 3,000 Australian businesses (plus the Commonwealth Government) will be reporting under the Modern Slavery Act, without testable and verified benefits in terms of reducing modern slavery. Enforcement of the new law is largely outsourced to civil society.

This project will evaluate the effectiveness of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 by assessing the extent that changes in business conduct in response to the legislation result in improvements in working conditions. The project will provide evidence based analysis of Australian business supply chains to examine the law’s effectiveness and inform the development of future business practice and Australian Government policy to mitigate and reduce modern slavery risks. It will extend our knowledge of Australia’s domestic and global manufacturing supply chains and address labour risks. The project will directly benefit regulators, reporting entities and civil society by developing best practice tools for strengthening compliance, reducing risk and providing a pathway for developing more sustainable supply chains and advising on effective reforms.


  • Prof Justine Nolan
  • A/Prof Vikram Bhakoo
  • Ms Amy Sinclair, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre
  • Human Rights Law Centre
  • Transform Aid International Ltd


Labour in Supply Chains

Key Words

Modern Slavery, Decent Work

Funding Sources

  • Application with Australian Research Council.  Seeking further funding sources.
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