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.
Have we reached a tipping point in promoting ethical recruitment in global supply chains? I think it’s pretty safe to say that we have not—but there has been a lot of good work recently among global companies and the private sector on the subject, most of it focused on the recruitment fees charged to workers.
The recent migrant worker policy adopted by Patagonia, the US outdoor clothing company, is a case in point. It explicitly prohibits suppliers from charging fees, expenses or deposits to workers for recruitment or employment services, echoing similar policies adopted by Apple and HP in the electronics industry late last year.
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.