Despite the growing awareness of, and commitments to, ethical recruitment, an analysis of CUMULUS data from early 2019 to the present reveals that less than five percent of employers fully absorb the true cost of cross border recruitment, including all recruitment fees and related costs. Instead, those costs continue to be passed on to foreign migrant workers.
In many countries, including major producing nations such as Brazil and Colombia, workers in the coffee sector have been defined as essential workers who must continue to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent weeks, Verité has been engaging stakeholders in The Cooperation On Fair, Free Equitable Employment (COFFEE) Project to learn about the impacts COVID-19 is having on coffee farmers and farmworkers and to explore potential actions that could mitigate the effects of the pandemic on them.
Verité has identified a number of factors that increase workers’ vulnerability to becoming victims of human trafficking, all of which will likely worsen during and after the COVID-19 crisis, including poverty, inequality, political instability, conflict, crime/violence, and tightening of restrictions on immigration.
As we at Verité take stock of COVID-19’s many implications for employers and supply chain actors, we particularly want to emphasize the importance of the high-level principles that companies should promote in their own operations and supply chains.
Verité is excited to launch a major new program in Mexico to promote and protect labor rights more effectively in the sugarcane sector. SENDEROS will combine intensive rights training and grievance mechanisms for workers with closely coordinated efforts with both the Mexican government and the private sector to create a new approach to labor rights enforcement in a sector that has long experienced poor working conditions.