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Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement

Abt Associates Inc. and its subsidiaries support the UK Modern Slavery Act (2015) and are committed to ensuring that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in our supply chains or in any part of our business.

This statement informs Abt personnel, suppliers, and the public about Abt’s policies and procedures with respect to modern slavery, human trafficking, forced labour or any other human rights violations in its supply chains.

I. Abt’s Business and Organizational Structure

Abt Associates is defined by its mission: to improve the quality of life and economic well-being of people worldwide. We are a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. We apply our energy and creativity to helping our customers – governments, businesses, and private organizations – make better decisions and deliver better products and services by providing them with the highest quality research, technical assistance, and consulting services available in the marketplace.

Known for our rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and has been recognized as one of the top 40 international development innovators. We strive to exceed our clients’ expectations for the integrity of our methods and findings, the objectivity of our thinking, and the practical utility of our results.

Our global staff works in more than 40 countries and includes national and international experts who are recognized for their knowledge, innovative research techniques, and insightful analyses and recommendations. We aspire to provide our staff with a quality of work life characterized by mutual respect and a continuous learning environment that fosters creativity and high performance.

Abt Associates has offices in the United States, Great Britain and Australia and international program offices in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

Abt’s diverse supply chain consists of non-profit organisations, research institutions, consultancy companies, local suppliers and self-employed consultants located within the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and overseas.

II. Abt’s Policies

Abt Associates became a participant of the UN Global Compact on January 31st 2018. Abt is committed to the UNGC initiative and its guiding principles, and we will build on these in our policies and procedures wherever possible.

Abt has two written policies, entitled Modern Slavery and Human Rights Abuses Policy and Combating Trafficking in Persons Policy, which specifically address the issues of modern slavery and human trafficking in Abt’s global ethical compliance system. Abt incorporates into its supply chain subcontracts clauses prohibiting all types of slavery and human trafficking, in accordance with procurement and contracting policies and procedures.

These policies do not exist in a vacuum. Abt Associates has a robust Code of Conduct which applies to all personnel worldwide and encourages staff to speak up if they see or suspect violations of Abt policies, donor regulations or relevant laws. Our Whistleblower Protection Policy further ensures that personnel can report concerns without fear of retaliation. These documents, as well as other relevant policies, procedures and reporting tools, are available to staff through the Abt Global Intranet (AGI) and the Quality Management System (QMS). Abt Associates’ Modern Slavery and Human Rights Abuses Policy contains incident reporting guidance and procedure.

III. Due Diligence

Abt Associates undertakes appropriate due diligence on all potential employees, consultants, partner organisations and suppliers prior to engaging in a contractual relationship. These checks include global sanctions and enforcement databases and the World Bank debarred firms and individuals list. Abt Associates has a Due Diligence Guideline and associated Due Diligence Report and Questionnaire forms.  Our Delivery Partner Management Guideline and downstream Partner Response Tool is used to ensure supply chain compliance with the DFID and FCO supply partner code of conduct, which incorporates checks on modern slavery policy and procedure.

Abt regularly updates due diligence procedures to reflect best practice, including requesting evidence of polices/procedures in place pertaining to anti-trafficking/slavery and protection of vulnerable people and children. Where appropriate, we will embed additional risk checks for modern slavery in routine supplier due diligence process.

IV. Risk assessment

Abt periodically reviews the principal areas of risk which the organization faces in relation to human rights abuses such as modern slavery and human trafficking.

Though Abt operates in certain high-risk countries, our sector risk in research, consulting and program implementation is generally low. We appreciate, however, that risk remains in the supply chain and are committed to continually monitoring and mitigating these risks.

V. Effectiveness

Abt is committed to providing an appropriate level of guidance and training to corporate and field staff and partners to support effective implementation of policies, including on modern slavery and human trafficking. Abt reviews policy compliance in a process of continuous improvement. Abt investigates any complaints about suspected human trafficking activities in our supply chain and takes prompt corrective action wherever required.

VI. Training

Abt provides ethical training to all staff upon induction, with refresher training every two years. 

In FY 2019/20, Abt’s ethical training package has been updated to include a module on recognising and reporting human rights abuses such as modern slavery and human trafficking.

This statement is made pursuant to Section 54 (1) Part 6 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes Abt’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking statement for the financial year ending March 31st 2019.


Kathleen Flanagan
Chief Executive Officer
Abt Associates Inc.

25 February 2020

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