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.
Solving supply chain Code of Conduct violations will take multi-faceted interventions. I was privileged to facilitate a panel on “Slavery in the Supply Chain” at the annual Trust Women Conference organized by the Thomson Reuters Foundation that presented some solutions, and challenges, to an audience of smart and committed people from business, government, media, advocacy and law. Conferences like this demonstrate that there are in many cases existing, effective solutions to pressing problems like forced labor in supply chains. In private conversations, I’ve been emphasizing lately the opportunity and urgency for companies to adopt these existing solutions now rather than await the invention of something new. Much benefit—to vulnerable workers, their employers, brands and other supply chain ‘owners’—can be achieved almost immediately if companies were to take steps like HP has (outlined in this newsletter elsewhere), and as we’ve described Apple doing in the past.