In order to tackle the root causes of forced labor in global supply chains – namely, the exploitation of vulnerable workers by unscrupulous recruiters and labor agents, the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) announced earlier this week it is s launching a new multi-industry, multi-stakeholder initiative.
Called the “Responsible Labor Initiative”, the program will take a holistic approach to address all aspects of a worker’s journey since currently solutions have been fragmented across industries and regions.
The initiative’s Advisory Group includes the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), The Fair Hiring Initiative (TFHI), Verité, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), CH2M, Intel, Walmart and other companies.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), approximately 21 million people worldwide are working in situations of forced labor. Supply chains include hundreds of thousands of foreign migrant workers who seek to make better lives for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, some of these workers are exploited through force, fraud, debt bondage or other coercion, in many industries and regions throughout the world.
“To accelerate change and drive labor market transformation, we believe that due diligence must be harmonized across multiple industries that share recruitment channels,” said Rob Lederer, executive director of the EICC.
The RLI was formed with the assistance of a multi-stakeholder Advisory Group comprised of representatives from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), The Fair Hiring Initiative (TFHI), Verité, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), CH2M, Intel, Walmart and other companies.
“Addressing the risks vulnerable workers face in the recruitment process requires collective action,” said Ed Marcum, managing director of Humanity United. “The Responsible Labor Initiative creates a necessary forum for companies to work together across sectors and act collectively.”
At launch, the RLI includes industries already engaged in the EICC, such as electronics and automotive, and will expand to others to maximize leverage in key sourcing areas.