Vineyard workers on a truck

Important steps have been taken recently to put responsible recruitment firmly on the agenda of businesses around the world. In November at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, several panels discussed solutions to recruitment abuses. The issues were also featured prominently at the annual Trust Women Conference in London while recruitment and labor migration were key features of discussions at this year’s Global Forum on Migration and Development in Turkey. These are encouraging times for advocates of responsible recruitment in supply chains.

But despite this progress, we still have a long way to go to translate global dialogue into practical action on the ground: that is, in the workplaces that employ migrant workers, the industries that recruit and move them, and migration corridors around the world. While some practical and impactful steps have been taken, these have been too few in number, and we’re nowhere near a tipping point for responsible recruitment.

With this in mind Verité has teamed up with the UN Global Compact to produce a new resource for companies and other stakeholders designed to inspire action to eliminate the recruitment fees charged to migrant workers that so often lead to debt bondage, forced labor and other forms of abuse. The guidance complements our joint call to action published last year on the retention of identity documents, and calls on companies to establish better migrant protections at each stage of the migration and employment cycle. It presents a clear case for action and sets out practical, implementable steps on detection and prevention, on remedy, and on collective engagement and policy advocacy.

As we look towards the New Year, we hope this resource is joined by others, inspires initiatives and projects to improve conditions for migrants, and creates a groundswell of action that pushes us beyond the tipping point in 2016. Global dialogue can provide us with much-needed structure and momentum but it should not be a proxy for engagement with workers, communities and supply chains. Without this important input we will fail to bring about the necessary change for those that need it most.

See: UN Global Compact and Verité, Eliminating Recruitment Fees Charged to Migrant Workers, 2015.

For more information about Verité’s work on responsible recruitment, contact Philip Hunter.