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.
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.
- 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.
At #GFRRE18, Dan Viederman of @HumanityUnited answers: Have we made progress on eradicating #forcedlabour? Depends on when you started counting, but the short answer is not enough. #Singapore #ResponsibleRecruitment pic.twitter.com/ZSH8vUkZka— IHRB (@ihrb) June 11, 2018
Today, businesses, NGOs and others are gathering in Singapore for #GFRRE18 to push for responsible recruitment globally. Here I explain why this matters for ending #modernslavery & why I support all those participating: https://t.co/IYd9i9PIJl— Kevin Hyland OBE (@UKAntiSlavery) June 11, 2018
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.
- 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.
@IOMchief inspiring keynote #GFRRE18, 1 in 7 of us is a migrant, equivalent to population of Brazil & GDP of US$ 500 billion. Migration is necessary, not an issue to solve but one for business, civil society & gov’ts to manage responsibly, #ResponsibleRecruitment @ihrb @CGF_Sus— Vicky Dodman (@VickyDodman) June 11, 2018
"We need to protect migrant whistleblowers who know who those [unethical] recruitment agencies are" William Lacy Swing, DG @IOMchief @UNmigration #GFRRE18 @CGF_Sus @CGF_The_Forum @ihrb #Responsiblerecruitment #Humanrights #migration pic.twitter.com/E9GM7iJOHj— Nadia Hurel Bunce (@NadiaBunce) June 11, 2018
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.
- Migrants often have their passports retained.
- Migrant workers are often forced to pay recruitment fees.
- Freedom of movement of migrant workers is often restricted.
So critical to begin the Global Forum on recruitment with migrant workers and migrant worker organizations to ground the reality of the experience of exploitation that is embedded in the current recruitment system! @ICCRonline @CGF_Sus @ihrb @HumanityUnited pic.twitter.com/5nr7bOjFNf— David Schilling (@dschilling44) June 11, 2018
@BhimShrestha1 Migrant Worker Network shares his experience of exploitation starting w paying #Recruitment Fee. W a university education he breaks the stereotype of vulnerable workers being uneducated- this is not uncommon @CGF_Sus @ihrb #GFRRE18 #THB #forcedlabour #Singapore pic.twitter.com/331zXROIrS— Ruth Freedom Pojman (@rpojman) June 11, 2018
MANY more “stories” like this in #Myanmar, #Nepal, #Cambodia, #Laos... when we listen. Important to also recognize the differences based on #GENDER when designing solutions. #GFRRE18 @CGF_Sus @unwomenasia https://t.co/qRQz3oqQBn— marina colby (@marinacolby) June 12, 2018
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.
- 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.
Migrant workers from Latin America & Asia are charged between $3000-27000 for work placements on US farms. Exploitative recruitment fees like this cause #modernslavery. Find out more: https://t.co/IYd9ia7jAT#GFRRE18— Kevin Hyland OBE (@UKAntiSlavery) June 12, 2018
Ethical recruiter Maria Apostol reminds us at #GFRRE18: Need to break down the actual costs of #EmployerPays, from passports, to medicals & beyond. Without that clarified, ethical recruiters getting employers to pay are disadvantaged against unethical agents passing onto workers. pic.twitter.com/nr8VFr7jBG— IHRB (@ihrb) June 11, 2018
Need to be honest about the recruitment process for migrant workers. That's mean speaking about corruption, kickbacks and other criminal practices that trap people in exploitation says .@dschilling44 #GFRRE18 #Singapore #EmployerPays— Equidem (@EquidemResearch) June 11, 2018
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).
- 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.
Recruitment Adviser is a great new online tool by .@ituc for migrant workers to report and learn about employment practices and countries of origin #GFRRE18 #Recruitment #Singapore pic.twitter.com/dmgKG36vTb— Equidem (@EquidemResearch) June 11, 2018
At the #GFRRE18 Subash Sharma describes the Pravas system of recruitment based on mobile phone technology in Nepal. Lots of promise but needs the support of employers to ensure it can move beyond pilot stage. #EmployerPays #migrantworkers #Singapore— Neill Wilkins (@NeillWilkins) June 11, 2018
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).
- 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.
How can we partner directly with migrant workers more when working on solutions to #trafficking, #ModernSlavery and recruitment fees? So important and so often overlooked, thank you @catchen807 for raising this #GFRRE18 #Singapore— Peter Nestor (@peternestor) June 11, 2018
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).
- 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.
"Our North Star is how many people’s lives have been meaningfully improved- that is our main KPI... The direction we are going in needs KPIs which are human focused, worker focused" @mmccauleysine on measuring Human Rights Impact at @MarsGlobal #humanrightsbiz #GFRRE18 @CGF_Sus pic.twitter.com/2tycuo3w4E— Nadia Hurel Bunce (@NadiaBunce) June 11, 2018
#GFRRE18 @MarsGlobal says industry has info on human rights practice, but need info on how to improve practice and stay profitable for small players to stay competitive. @CGF_Sus @ihrb #ResponsibleRecruitment #EmployerPays pic.twitter.com/BkLWW3ZNfc— Katie Henke (@MsKatieHenke) June 11, 2018
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).
- 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.
#GFRRE18 panel on costs: Jay Celorie @HP notes nothing motivates Boards like potential headline w company's name next to "Suppliers Employing Thousands of #MigrantWorkers in #DebtBondage". A business can lose everything, reputation, share price, consumer confidence, leadership. pic.twitter.com/bqYbtOdHAw— IHRB (@ihrb) June 11, 2018
At #GFRRE18 panel on costs of recruitment, Rosey Hurst of @Impactt_Limited clarifies: When you emancipate a slave, you have an initial productivity LOSS bc turnover goes up. Have to also improve HR systems, manage people better, up everyone's game. THEN come productivity benefits pic.twitter.com/6cooCESks3— IHRB (@ihrb) June 11, 2018
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.
- 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.
#GFRRE18 @USDOS says we need info on what effective regulation for #ResponsibleRecruitment looks like to promote good policy in #Trafficking report. @WinrockIntl is ready to support our host governments to innovate recruitment regulations that support #EmployerPays— Katie Henke (@MsKatieHenke) June 11, 2018
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.
- 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.
Vital interventions from Migrant Forum Asia @mfasia_ here at #GFRRE18 in #singapore keeping us focused on need to allow & facilitate migrant workers to organize so they can stand in opposition to exploitative practices and not wait for business to act— Dan Viederman (@DViederman) June 12, 2018
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.
- More companies and sectors are now involved.
- We now have a better grasp of measurement.
- Honesty is essential to tackling this issue.
Must read for #GFRRE18 @sheffielduni study #ForcedLabour in #Fairtade & #RainforestAlliance tea & cocoa https://t.co/rLrc34ZB8z "Some of the worst cases of exploitation occurred on ethically certified plantations." @CGF_Sus @DViederman @VickyDodman @ihrb @peternestor @LauraRubbo— Fernando Morales-de la Cruz (@fmdelac) June 11, 2018
Day 2 Opening
Didier Birgeret (The CGF) opened Day 2.
- 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.
- 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.
IHRB's Neill Wilkins kicks off #GFRRE18 day 2 with IKEA, @UNmigration and ethical recruiters Staffhouse (Philippines) & Fair Employment Agencies (Hong Kong). How to ensure #EmployerPays is a viable biz model? Mapping, auditing & certifying agencies all on the agenda. #singapore pic.twitter.com/Xl3hFAoVAM— IHRB (@ihrb) June 12, 2018
In support of #GFRRE18, a piece on why eradicating exploitative recruitment fees is crucial to fight #modernslavery - tackling a root cause instead of intervening after the fact https://t.co/b99BmAGkPo— Emily Kenway (@emilykenway) June 11, 2018
Keynote Address: Andrew Forrest, Fortescue
The Chief Executive of Fortescue Metals Group, Andrew Forrest, provided the second keynote address of the Global Forum.
- CEO leadership is essential to driving the right corporate strategy.
- Partnerships between business and governments are also vital.
Andrew Forrest, Chair of Forescue Metals Group, described with passion the necessity for business leaders to 'provide cover' for their staff to investigate and eliminate modern slavery in their supply chains. @ICCRonline @WalkFreeFdn #GFRRE18 @ihrb @ILO_EndSlavery @CGF_Sus pic.twitter.com/esnDOHyKsW— David Schilling (@dschilling44) June 12, 2018
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).
- 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.
@AusAmbPSHT: our business leaders have been looking at ethical recruitment as part of ongoing working groups in the Bali Process - it is a priority area for the Forum this August #BaliProcess #GFRRE18— Shaeron Yapp (@shaeronjoy) June 12, 2018
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).
- 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.
"When you are in a perfect storm, you need to take the moral high ground" - a timely warning from @UNmigration chief William Lacy Swing @IOMchief at Day Two of #GFRRE18 in #Singapore @ihrb @CGF_Sus pic.twitter.com/wsaK5ZHp9L— John Morrison (@Jomo1966) June 12, 2018
"If you are not looking for slavery in your supply chains, then you are part of the problem" says Andrew Forrest, CEO @FortescueNews at Day Two of #GFRRE18 in #Singapore - the original #SingaporeSummit #SingaporeMeeting #SingaporeSling @ihrb @CGF_Sus @CGF_The_Forum #modernslavery pic.twitter.com/hqRXCsbJeo— John Morrison (@Jomo1966) June 12, 2018
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).
- 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.
Today launch of eh @ilo Global Business Network to support business & employers collaboration towards elimination of #ForcedLabour & #HumanTrafficking with @CocaCola & @LauraRubbo @WaltDisneyCo at #GFRRE18 https://t.co/HsaiKveJw4— @ILO_EndSlavery (@ILO_EndSlavery) June 12, 2018
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).
- 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).
- 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.
."Our role is to bring our franchisees on the journey and build their capacity around tackling modern slavery" Michael Blanding @IHG_CR speaking on our @#GFRRE18 panel with @ihrb pic.twitter.com/eY3QUh9qmN— Nicolas Perin (@NicolasPerinITP) June 12, 2018
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.
- 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.