Department of Labor Seal

Verité is pleased to announce it is the recipient of two U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs (DOL-ILAB) grants for its work in Guatemala and Ghana. DOL-ILAB’s mission is to promote a fair global playing field for workers in the United States and around the world by enforcing trade commitments, strengthening labor standards, and combating international child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking.

 

Combating Forced Labor and Labor Trafficking of Adults and Children in Ghana

Despite a relatively strong national anti-trafficking legal framework, forced labor and labor trafficking have been documented in a number of key economic sectors in Ghana. Government efforts are limited by a lack of systematic data collection, monitoring, and analysis with a forced labor specific lens. Meanwhile, private sector efforts to monitor labor practices have for the most part focused narrowly on the prevention of child labor in the country’s high-profile cocoa industry.

With DOL-ILAB’s funding, Verité – in partnership with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC) and the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) – will develop tools and strategies to help law enforcement, private sector due diligence monitors, social service and civil society organizations, and workers themselves to prevent, detect, and eliminate forced labor and labor trafficking in supply chains.

By adopting an indicator-based framework developed by the ILO, stakeholders will share a common vocabulary and set of indicators to coordinate anti-labor-trafficking efforts. The indicator-based approach provides valuable information on the root causes driving forced labor and other labor rights abuses. Project partners will collect data on indicators of forced labor currently relevant to target sectors and this tailored data will be used to pilot forced labor monitoring strategies. By integrating this approach into existing efforts, encouraging coordinated efforts among stakeholders, and providing labor inspectors with the tools and training they need, the project will promote a scalable, resource-effective model for monitoring and enforcement.

For more information, please contact Allison Arbib.

Addressing Child and Forced Labor in Coffee Supply Chains in Guatemala

The agricultural sector constitutes the largest source of employment in Guatemala, and coffee is the country’s most important crop, providing employment for 90,000 smallholder coffee farmers and 473,000 workers (seven percent of the workforce). The vast majority of these workers come from marginalized populations vulnerable to labor violations, including indigenous men, women, and children with low levels of education.

With DOL-ILAB’s funding, Verité will create a robust, sustainable compliance system for the Guatemalan coffee sector to help stakeholders prevent, detect, and eliminate forced and child labor and other forms of labor exploitation from company supply chains. The three-year project will be implemented in partnership with REACH (Research-Education-Action-Change) and Catholic Relief Services, with support from key industry associations in Guatemala and internationally, as well as prominent coffee brands.

A key aspect of the proposed strategy is assembling a powerful coalition of coffee buyers that can collectively exert leverage over suppliers, communicate common expectations, and provide suppliers with the resources, frameworks, guidance, tools, and trainings needed to eradicate forced labor; child labor; and wage, hour, and health and safety violations from their supply chains. The partners will develop and pilot innovative new social compliance tools to help businesses implement social compliance systems that can prevent, detect, and eliminate egregious labor abuses

This project builds on a previous project that Verité recently completed on Improving Supply Chain Transparency, Monitoring, and Accountability in Guatemala’s Coffee Sector (https://www.verite.org/improving-supply-chain-transparency-monitoring-and-accountability-in-guatemalas-coffee-sector/), in partnership with REACH and with generous support from Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

For more information, please contact Quinn Kepes.