Uncovering forced labor in a company’s operations or supply chains is one of the biggest challenges in social auditing. Labor supply chains are typically long, complex, and can involve numerous formal and informal middlemen, recruitment fees and other expenses, and promises of good jobs, salaries and working conditions that do not come to bear.  The initial promise made to a jobseeker — and the subsequent request for a payment which leads the jobseeker to take on debt to pay for it — may happen in her home village. Weeks later, that migrant worker may be thousands of miles away in a job she didn’t want, unable to quit because of severe penalties for terminating her contract, money still owed to a lender, or without access to her passport which was confiscated.
 
Gathering evidence of such labor abuses is difficult for auditors because:
 
  • jobseekers rarely receive a receipt for recruitment fees or other expenses charged them to get their job;
  • they are often told by recruiters or employers if they mention paying a fee, they won’t be placed or will be sent home;
  • they face unpayable debt if they are fired, and are threatened with termination if they reveal problems to an auditor.
Having pioneered forced labor assessments over the last decade, Verité has refined investigative techniques and tools to overcome these obstacles. We are now sharing them in a technical skills course for lead auditors, suppliers, and company CSR managers: The Verité Ethical Recruitment Auditing Training. Verité held the first two workshops in Johor and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this fall for a mix of auditing firms, NGOs, and regional staff from companies across several sectors.
 
Email training@verite.org for registration information about our next session in Kuala Lumpur on November 25-28, 2019 or future trainings.
 
About the Verité Ethical Recruitment Auditing Training
The four-day interactive workshop is facilitated by our senior auditing trainers who themselves have years of experience conducting forced labor assessments and investigations. The course includes an online context-setting knowledge module that unpacks the basics of forced labor, its root causes, and ethical recruitment standards for employers and labor agencies.
 
The workshop is structured around a three-day mock audit and includes a blend of lecture, discussion, group work, role play, and interviewing skills demonstration and practice. Sessions cover:
 
  • The drivers of forced labor risk in the recruitment/labor broker system and employment practices
  • How to plan for effective on-site ethical recruitment and employment auditing
  • The role of management systems and critical risk controls for work site and labor supply chain due diligence
  • Critical data sources and how to use triangulation for validation of findings
  • Selection and analysis of key documents, including payroll
  • Effective engagement with managers and labor brokers
  • Effective rapport building and interviewing of uniquely vulnerable migrant workers
  • Analysis of audit data and reporting of findings
What students have said about the Verité Ethical Recruitment Auditing course:
 
  • “At first, I was expecting a common (a basic) and typical social training, but these four days guided me to know, and realize, social audits are challenging, and they are subjective. The training was amazing!”
  • “Extremely helpful. Ethical recruitment remains a sensitive issue and it’s good that we are trained on the topic.”
  • “Very robust, and all social auditors should definitely attend at least once.”
  • “I valued the specific examples that [the trainer] provided during her sessions the most. Experience sharing is most helpful to relate to our own experiences.”

Photo credit: Jimmy Tran/shutterstock.com

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