Verité’s core work is to assist multinationals to understand and address serious labor rights and human rights violations in their supply chains. This year our field teams brought to light serious abuses faced by highly vulnerable people in Malaysian palm oil, Thai fishing, Peruvian gold mining, electronics in Malaysia, Guatemalan coffee production. In each of these places we connect multinationals that can help solve the problem with the people who need their help. This requires money, funds that Verité uses to do original research and communicate our findings.
Verité’s White Paper on The Cost of a Job: Systemic Forced Labor in Asia and What Companies Can Do to Eliminate It, we quantify the extent to which unscrupulous labor brokers and their client employers exploit foreign workers’ vulnerability for their own profit by inflating the cost of migration through recruitment fees. Verité’s experience in 2014 alone is that foreign workers in Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore pay between the equivalent of between $1,500 and $6,000 to obtain their jobs.
Palm oil has been in the news a lot lately, but the news hasn’t been good. From forest fires across Indonesia used to make way for new plantations to human and labor rights abuses, media scrutiny has uncovered the often troubling conditions associated with this almost ubiquitous oil. It has also uncovered worrying weaknesses in the voluntary mechanisms set up to promote palm oil sustainability. Add this to existing regulatory and enforcement gaps in countries where palm oil is often produced, and it is clear that these are troubling times for workers across the industry. But the news isn’t all bleak.
Nestlé contracted Verité to conduct a three-month assessment of its shrimp supply chain in Thailand. The report, which Nestlé has made public, identified forced labor and other human rights abuses endemic to the sector. Nestlé has also released its Action Plan to address these issues.