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Last month, the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) announced, as part of its commitment to eradicating forced labor, the results of a special out-of-cycle membership vote amending version 5.0 of the EICC Code of Conduct to further protect workers by prohibiting all recruitment fees.

According to version 5.0 of the EICC Code of Conduct, “Workers shall not be required to pay employers’ or agents’ recruitment fees or other related fees for their employment. If any such fees are found to have been paid by workers, such fees shall be repaid to the worker.” The EICC is encouraging its members to adopt this new language as soon as possible, but it will officially take effect on January 1, 2016, to provide members with adequate time for implementation. This commitment follows the example of industry leaders like HP and Apple, and is aligned with recent regulatory developments such as the final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)—part of President Obama’s Executive Order on Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts.

Verité works closely with a number of electronics companies that already prohibit charging fees to workers in their supply chains, and so welcomes this amendment to the EICC Code as a significant industry development. We look forward to its implementation in sourcing countries and regions where the practice of charging fees to workers is all too pervasive.