Human rights groups are urging the federal government to take a tougher stance against modern slavery, warning of widespread abuse in Australia and abroad.

A two-year investigation led by the Human Rights Law Centre has found most Australian companies with known supply-chain links to forced labour are not meeting the basic reporting obligations.

The investigation, assisted by RMIT University and the University of Notre Dame, looked at the disclosure statements of 102 Australian healthcare, clothing, horticulture, and seafood companies.

Businesses with a consolidated revenue of at least $100 million must publish an annual statement outlining any potential links to forced labour in their supply chains and what work they are doing to avoid them.

“Over half of the companies that we reviewed failed to disclose obvious modern slavery risks in their high-risk supply chains,” Freya Dinshaw, a senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, said.