Whether you are a brand, supplier, government, investor, anti-slavery or labor-rights organization, social auditor, or certifier, your approach to protecting migrant workers is not complete unless it includes a focus on the path that workers take to get a job in the global economy. The Verite Fair Hiring Toolkit aims to offer tools, guidance, and approaches to support the responsible recruitment and hiring of migrant workers in global supply chains.
Like their clients – the global brands for which they manufacture goods or provide services – suppliers are in a strong position to take effective action against abuse at the recruitment and hiring stages of the employment relationship. They, too, can develop wide-ranging CSR programs establishing codes, self-assessment protocols, corrective action plans and partnership agreements that seek to address this abuse. They can also use their own human resource management systems to ensure the elimination of coercive practices that place migrant workers at risk.
Taking these steps will not only protect suppliers from compliance violations at their facilities, but it will also help migrant workers to begin their employment “on the right foot”. Setting the right tone in recruitment and hiring will pay dividends at the workplace, helping to ensure that you have a workforce that is happy, healthy and dedicated to working at your company.
Many suppliers are already implementing a social responsibility program aimed at meeting social and labor standards set by their customers, or as part of an industry initiative (e.g., the FLA, the ETI or the EICC), and may have policies, processes and practices in place to screen out and manage the risk of forced labor issues in their own workplaces. However, the risks of forced labor, debt bondage and trafficking, take on a different dynamic when companies hire migrant workers. The risks escalate further when migrant workers are hired through local or foreign labor brokers. Even for suppliers with existing social responsibility programs, the use of labor brokers means that existing programs may need a boost.
If suppliers hire domestic or foreign contract workers through labor brokers, they also need to ensure that specialized knowledge, procedures and practices are incorporated into their organization’s management systems and operational processes. Doing so will help meet their business needs, without sacrificing the rights of their employees or exposing their company to liabilities. Verité’s Systems Approach to Social Responsibility – represented by the tools offered in this Fair Hiring Toolkit and in Verité trainings offers a framework for action.
1. Improving Codes of Conduct & Company Policies
2. Raising Awareness & Building Capacity
3. Screening & Evaluating Labor Brokers
4. Managing Labor Brokers & Monitoring for Ethical Recruitment & Hiring
5. Ensuring Good Practice in Human Resources Management
6. Establishing Effective Grievance Mechanisms & Protection for Whistleblowers
7. Taking Corrective Action & Developing Systems Improvement