Migrant Workers

Global Forum for Responsible Recruitment and Employment 2018

Meeting Report, 10 July 2018

The 2018 Global Forum on Responsible Recruitment and Employment took place on the 11th-12th June 2018 in Singapore.

Hosted by IHRB and Consumer Goods Forum, with partners Humanity United, this second annual dialogue brought together global brands, suppliers, recruitment agencies, governments, and NGOs to examine the challenges of recruiting migrant workers and how implementing ethical recruitment is vital in protecting workers from modern slavery as well as ensuring sustainable and efficient business operations. 

Key takeaways, reflections from participants on social media, and photos from the day are available below, in addition to a detailed event report.


Welcoming Remarks

Participants were welcomed by John Morrison (IHRB) and Didier Bergeret (The CGF), who framed the Forum’s agenda, and discussed with Dan Viederman (Humanity United), Brent Wilton (The Coca-Cola Company) and Julia Battho (IHRB) the current state of progress in eradicating forced labour and unethical recruitment globally.

Key Takeaways:
  • Governments, trade unions, NGOs and businesses need to collaborate.
  • Increased pool of people now working on the issue and increased political will.
  • We must speed up the pace of change and remain focused.



Keynote: William Lacy Swing, IOM

The outgoing Director General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) provided the first keynote address to the Global Forum.

Key Takeaways:
  • Year-on-year, the number of migrants is growing globally.
  • No industry or economic sector is immune to these abuses.
  • Examine your own supply chain and apply pressure to governments.



Experience of the Migrant Worker: The Impact of Recruitment Fees

Catherine Chen (Humanity United) chaired a conversation with two migrant workers - Anne Beatrice Jacobs (North South Initiative) and Bhim Kumar Newar (Migrant Worker Network) now active in working globally to eradicate worker-charged fees.

Key Takeaways:
  • Migrants often have their passports retained.
  • Migrant workers are often forced to pay recruitment fees.
  • Freedom of movement of migrant workers is often restricted.



Debt Burden

David Schilling (ICCR) led a conversation with Ray Jureidini (Hamad Bin Khalifa University) and Marie Apostol (Fair Hiring Inc) about the mechanics and scale of recruitment related extortion.

Key Takeaways:
  • Corruption is endemic and entrenched globally.
  • Widespread market practices must change and proper enforcement and clarity of costs are necessary.
  • Responsible recruitment agenda could be enhanced by framing it as an anti-corruption agenda.



Breakout 1: Technology and Transparency

John Morrison (IHRB) chaired a breakout session on the role of technological applications being created to amplify migrant worker voices and provide them greater information, with Declan Croucher (Verité), Subash Sharma (Pravas), and Anne Beatrice Jacobs (on behalf of ITUC's Recruitment Advisor).

Key Takewaways: 
  • Privacy and consent can be issues facing migrant workers associated with new technology.
  • Technology is an important tool to increase the detection of high-risk supply chains.
  • Technologies should be adapted to local languages and safeguarded against manipulation by recruiters.



Breakout 2: Judicial and Non-Judicial Remedy

Anna Piatonova (IOM) chaired a breakout session on the essential component of remedy in both states' and businesses' relationships with their migrant workers, with Archana Kotecha (Liberty Asia), Andrey Sawchenko (International Justice Mission), and Philip Fishman (International Labour Organization).

Key Takeaways: 
  • Both state and business have a responsibility to ensure that workers have access to remedies.
  • Brands should advocate for reforms and investment by governments.
  • Models for work protection will hopefully continue to be created and improved.



Are we Moving Fast Enough? What are the Markers? 

Shawn MacDonald (Verité) moderated the next discussion on the markers of progress in eradicating unethical recruitment globally with Marika Mccauley Sine (Mars Inc), Emily Kunen (Nestlé), Tu Rinsche (Marriott), and Doug Nystrom (Walmart).

Key Takeaways: 
  • Businesses need to make forced labour a priority.
  • Greater training and capacity building of suppliers is needed.
  • Embedding responsible recruitment into how companies operate is vital.



The Costs to Business of Transitioning to Employer Pays

Steve Gibbons (Ergon Associates) chaired the next discussion diving into the specific costs to businesses when committing to paying for the costs of recruitment, with Mark Taylor (Issara Institute), Rosey Hurst (Impactt), Jay Celorie (HP Inc), and Priya Chingen (Princes Tuna).

Key Takeaways: 
  • In Qatar, recent reforms related to World Cup projects mean that contractors will pay back workers for recruitment fees.
  • When workers are no longer bonded, employee turnover often increases, so improvement of HR management systems is vital.
  • Collective action from demand and supply side is needed to bring to scale.



Levers for Accelerating Progress

Elizabeth Frantz (Open Society Foundation) moderated a conversation with Leigh Anne DeWine (US State Department), Pia Rudolfsson Goyer (Norwegian Pension Fund), Steve Gibbons (Ergon Associates), and Bob Mitchell (Responsible Labor Initiative) on the most effective levers for the mainstreaming of responsible recruitment and how they can be optimised.

Key Takeaways: 
  • There is still uncertainty about whether recruitment regulation is effective.
  • The number of ethical recruiters globally is still small, and there is a need to develop the market.
  • Modern Slavery Acts stimulate change at a high level and have the potential to have impact on the ground.



The Ten Year Roadmap

Dan Viderman (Humanity United) chaired the final panel of Day 1 with Marc Capistrano (Staffhouse), Marcela Manubens (Unilever), and Sarah Tesei (Vinci/QDVC) looking ahead to 2026 and the ten-year goal to eradicate worker-paid fees globally.

Key Takeaways: 
  • Certification is essential for recruiters who want to be recognised as ethical.
  • There is a perception that ethical recruitment agencies are more expensive for clients.
  • At the brand level, making the business (and human) case internally will help progress.



Close of Day 1

John Morrison (IHRB) closed the day's discussion with some reflections on the small gains achieved so far, but also the outstanding gaps, including geographic reach and fully empowering workers.

Key Takeaways: 
  • More companies and sectors are now involved.
  • We now have a better grasp of measurement.
  • Honesty is essential to tackling this issue.



Day 2 Opening

Didier Birgeret (The CGF) opened Day 2.

Key Takeaways: 
  • Many leaders on this issue, but still many laggards.
  • Connecting with peers from other sectors is essential.
  • We need to walk the talk on the commitments we have made.


Advancing Recruitment Practices to Prevent Forced Labour

Neill Wilkins (IHRB) chaired the first panel of Day 2, with Greg Priest (Inter IKEA Group), Lara White (IOM), Marc Capistrano (Staffhouse), and Scott Stiles (Fair Employment Agency), discussing key elements of the ethical recruitment industry and how to incentivise the professionalisation of the sector.

Key Takeaways: 
  • There is still little guidance for brandson what “ethical recruitment” looks like.
  • With the support of governments, certification can go a long way to scale up the industry.
  • By becoming certified, recruiters are encouraging better behaviour amongst their peers.



Keynote Address: Andrew Forrest, Fortescue

The Chief Executive of Fortescue Metals Group, Andrew Forrest, provided the second keynote address of the Global Forum.

Key Takeaways: 
  • CEO leadership is essential to driving the right corporate strategy.
  • Partnerships between business and governments are also vital.



High Level Panel: Bali Process

Jenn Morris (Walk Free Foundation) moderated a high-level panel on the Bali Process as well as development of Australian Modern Slavery legislation, with Geoff Shaw (Australian Ambassador for People Smuggling and Human Trafficking), Dennis Kwok (Government of Hong Kong), Dino Djalal (Foreign Policy Community Indonesia; Emtek), and Chevaan Daniel (Capital Mahraja Group).

Key Takeaways: 
  • The Australian Modern Slavery Act will focus on highest risk sectors.
  • Creating a safe environment for disclosure is vital.
  • The social impact of migration is significant.



High Level Panel: Working Together to Combat Forced Labour

Isabel Hilton (China Dialogue) moderated a second high-level panel on the collective action needed to address the root causes of forced labour. with Ian Cook (The Colgate-Palmolive Company), Grant Reid (Mars, Inc), William Lacy Swing (IOM), and Andrew Forrest (Fortescue Metals Group).

Key Takeaways: 
  • The CGFs Priority Industry Principles are a powerful, yet simple tool that everyone should get behind.
  • Now is the time to accelerate momentum together and attack this issue with urgency.
  • Governments must have the right policies and a plan of action.



Launch of the ILO Global Business Network on Forced Labour

Brent Wilton (The Coca-Cola Company) moderated a discussion marking the launch of the new initiative, with Karrie Peterson (US State Department), Deborah France-Massin and Beate Andrees (ILO), Laura Chapman-Rubbo (The Walt Disney Company), Didier Bergeret (The CGF), and Mustain Bilah (Leathergoods and Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh).

Key Takeaways: 
  • There is still not a critical mass of companies aware of the most effective approaches to tackling forced labour.
  • ILO’s Business Network will seek to accelerate action.
  • The Network will facilitate collaboration by aligning the work of forced labour initiatives globally.



International Tourism Partnership Keynotes

Nicolas Perin (International Tourism Partnership) chaired a series of industry addresses from the corporate members of initiative, including Arne Sorenson (CEO, Marriott) and Rivero Delgado (Marriott), George Turner (CEO, IHG) and Michael Blanding (IHG), Jules Kerby (Hilton), Tom Smith (Hyatt), Robert Chessen (Radisson Hotel Group Asia-Pacific).

Key Takeaways: 
  • ITP introduces new forced labour principles based on CGF’s Priority Industry Principles.
  • Principles prioritise actions to address primary drivers of forced labour.
  • ITP Principles represent a foundational step to drive respect for human rights in the hospitality industry.



Launch of the International Tourism Partnership Principles 

John Morrison (IHRB) moderated a discussion of ITP members on the launch of the initiatives new industry principles, with Tu Rinsche (Marriott), Russell Vickers (Hilton), Michael Blanding (IHG), Jessica Schultz (Hyatt), and Robert Chessen (Radisson Hotel Group Asia-Pacific).

Key Takeaways: 
  • Important to publicly state commitment to eradicating forced labour.
  • Business leaders must understand problem before strategy can be implemented.
  • Dealing with franchises is a key challenge within the hotel industry when tackling forced labour.



Close of the 2nd Annual Global Forum on Responsible Recruitment and Employment

John Morrison (IHRB) and Dider Birgeret (The CGF) closed the Forum with final reflections on the two days of discussion.

Key Takeaways: 
  • We are a long way from the ‘tipping point’, but we are getting closer.
  • We must invite suppliers, other companies and partners to the event in coming years.
  • Recruitment fees is just the tip of the iceberg - working conditions must not be forgotten.

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