Addressing modern slavery

What is modern slavery?

Modern slavery describes situations where offenders use coercion, threats or deception to exploit victims and undermine their freedom.

Practices that constitute modern slavery can include:

• human trafficking

• slavery

• servitude

• forced labour

• debt bondage (when a person is forced to work to pay off a debt)

• forced marriage

• the worst forms of child labour.

Modern slavery can occur in any industry and sector.

Through the work documented in its modern slavery statement, Mercy Health is ensuring that it is doing its part to address modern slavery.


Mercy Health’s modern slavery statement

Under the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth), organisations are required to develop a modern slavery statement that describes their responses to the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chain.

More than 40 Catholic organisations around Australia, including Mercy Health, have joined the Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network (ACAN) to work together toward eliminating modern slavery.

Mercy Health produced its first modern slavery statement in 2020. It has now produced its Modern Slavery Statement 2021.

Mercy Health’s modern slavery statements have been given to Government in a compendium of modern slavery statements produced by ACAN members. The compendium can be viewed online.


Mercy Health’s work on modern slavery

In 2020, Mercy Health carried out the following work to address modern slavery:

  • Established the Modern Slavery and Ethical Purchasing Working Group.
  • Developed a Modern Slavery Policy and Risk Management Approach Procedure, along with a Supplier Code of Conduct Policy and Supplier Code of Conduct.
  • Updated our Recruitment and Selection Policy.
  • Implemented a modern slavery questionnaire for suppliers.
  • Developed our tender documentation and supply contracts to respond to the risk of modern slavery.
  • Briefed the Mercy Health Board, the Mercy Health Foundation Board and the Mercy Health executive.

In 2021, Mercy Health carried out the following work to address modern slavery:

  • Repeated the ACAN ‘Bridge the Gap’ analysis to monitor our progress and identify potential gaps in dealing with modern slavery.
  • Built on our partnership with ACAN and worked with HealthShare Victoria, Catholic Health Australia and Sedex.
  • Started using Sedex tools and services to map Mercy Health’s supply chain to assist in evaluating the risk of modern slavery in the supply chain.
  • Continued to screen investments for modern slavery and other ethical risks.
  • Provided training to the Working Group and other relevant business units.
  • Encouraged suppliers to educate themselves about modern slavery.
  • Continued to engage with significant suppliers to understand and influence their systems for assessing and addressing the risk of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.
  • Made information available to the public about Mercy Health’s response to modern slavery.

In 2022, Mercy Health carried out the following work to address modern slavery:

  • Required new suppliers onboarded by Procurement to participate in modern slavery processes and complete a modern slavery questionnaire.
  • Commenced an enterprise-level risk assessment to determine residual risk and the actions required to address that risk.
  • Held quarterly Working Group meetings to review actions taken to reduce modern slavery risks.
  • Shared Working Group meeting minutes with the Executive.
  • Encouraged staff to complete ACAN’s Modern Slavery 101 training.
  • Worked on establishing a feedback mechanism for allegations of modern slavery within operations or the supply chain through an external whistleblower service (to be operational in 2023).
  • Offered training to approximately 260 suppliers to help them understand Mercy Health and ACAN’s approach to modern slavery.
  • Provided suppliers with links to ACAN modern slavery webinars.

Read more:

2022 Modern Slavery Statement

2021 Modern Slavery Statement

2020 Modern Slavery Statement



Last reviewed December 7, 2022.

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