At Bank First, our values are based on the pillars of care and compassion, which encompasses looking after our wider community. At our very core is the respect for human rights and that involves taking steps towards assessing our modern slavery risks.
Modern slavery, I am sad to say still exists in our world and is not a term to be taken lightly. It refers to a range of practices that use coercion, threats, violence and even the abuse of power to exploit people and deprive them of their own freedom. Some practices that fall into the category of modern slavery include human trafficking, slavery, servitude, forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage and the worst forms of child labour. It goes against fundamental human rights and sadly impacts the lives of over forty million people worldwide.
Modern slavery often goes undetected and is occurring all over the world, including Australia. As individuals, we have a duty to ourselves as well as the community to fight against these practices by being more involved in foundations and global efforts to reduce instances of slavery and ensuring that our actions do not contribute to this further.
One way to fight modern slavery is to involve businesses to assist in the prevention and eradication by creating transparency in their supply chains. A few years ago in Australia, a law was passed to do exactly this. The Modern Slavery Act 2018 came into effect on 1 January 2019 and became one of the first national legislations in the world to define modern slavery.
Under this law, entities like Bank First are required to identify risks of modern slavery in their operational structure and supply chains and how these risks are being managed. Bank First remains committed to improving our response to modern slavery risks in our operations and supply chains. This December, we are prepared to lodge our second Modern Slavery Statement under the Act, covering the period from July 2020 to June 2021. We are proud to be doing our part to assist in increasing awareness and reducing the threat of modern slavery.