Japan’s steadily declining native workforce has created a dependence on low-skilled foreign labor. This, in turn, has created a vulnerable foreign workforce at risk for suffering myriad labor abuses. Japan’s Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) attracts hundreds of thousands of workers each year, primarily from other Asian countries. From 2015 to 2017, Verité collected and analyzed testimonies of Chinese trainees in the TITP program who had submitted complaints to a local migrant advocacy organization. The findings are available in the new paper Forced Labor Risk in Japan’s Technical Intern Training Program: Exploration of Indicators among Chinese Trainees Seeking Remedy.
Earlier this month, Ms. Wenjuan Yao, Verité China Director, led an informal and interactive discussion with stakeholders on emerging issues and trends in the Chinese labor market, and their implications for workers, companies, and policymakers. The event, graciously hosted by Humanity United at their Washington, D.C. offices, included attendees from a broad cross section of stakeholders, including representatives from government agencies, workers’ rights groups, civil society, multistakeholder initiatives, and industry bodies. Yao presented on four China-focused themes — emerging issues and regulations in the agriculture sector, the impact of shifting worker demographics in the manufacturing sector, challenges in effectively implementing social compliance programs, and the risks of forced labor facing Chinese migrant workers abroad. Following the brief presentation, there was a lively discussion and exchange among the attendees.
Last month, staff from Verité’s independent regional offices, Verité China and Verité Southeast Asia, and long-term network partner Sheva Nari O Shishu Kallyan Kendra from Bangladesh, joined staff from Verité in Amherst for a week-long summit to strengthen Verité’s global network. The regional offices, network partners who were able to take part in the event, and Verité Amherst staff were able to share the pioneering work they are undertaking in areas such as the garment industry, on worker empowerment and wellbeing programs, and as members of the Thai Seafood Task Force . These meetings gave staff a chance to update each other their current work on topics including ethical recruitment, construction, agriculture, and palm oil.
Drawing on her assessment expertise in Chinese factories, Verité China Program Director Wenjuan Yao speaks with Vision, highlighting current issues in management interference, democratic election technicalities, and assessing workers’ rights to freedom of association and participation within the country’s single-union system.