Public and private employment agencies, when appropriately regulated, play an important role in ensuring opportunities for productive employment and decent work, and promoting the efficient and equitable functioning of labour markets.
However, concerns have been raised about the growing role of unscrupulous recruitment intermediaries exploiting migrant workers through deception about the nature and conditions of work; retention of passports; deposits and illegal wage deductions; debt bondage linked to repayment of recruitment fees; threats if workers want to leave their employers, coupled with fears of subsequent expulsion from a country. A combination of these abusive practices can lead to conditions of human trafficking for forced labour.
Employers face direct liability if a victim is recruited into the company or into one of its subsidiaries. This can happen whether or not the company is aware of it, or whether or not its own management or Human Resources Department or a third-party labour provider is at fault. At the level of global brands and the first tier of supply chains, forced labour and human trafficking can often be hidden from view, the result of complex and frequently outsourced recruitment and hiring practices. Employers can also be indirectly linked to trafficking. This refers to actions by suppliers, sub-contractors and business partners, where the operations of otherwise independent companies can place the reputations of global brands at risk. In this case, supply chain insecurity linked to human trafficking grows as contracting and sub-contracting grow, for example in the global garment and electronics industries. Whether directly or indirectly implicated, risks for business can be legal, reputational, trade-related and finance- or investment-based.
This webinar addressed the following questions: How can recruitment entities be effectively monitored? How can employers efficiently and successfully screen recruiters? What are the most promising practices in addressing this issue? And how can public policy play a key role in combatting exploitation of workers by recruiters?
The panel featured expert speakers drawn from the private sector, academia, public policy, and non-governmental organisations:
Sandro Pettineo, Ciett Policy Advisor
Clara Pascual de Vargas, Consultant, International Organization for Migration (IOM)
James Sinclair, Co-Founder of, and International Advisor to, the FSI Worldwide Group of companies
Julie Dahlstrom, Clinical Legal Fellow and Director, Human Trafficking Clinic, Boston University School of Law; Affiliated Faculty, Pardee School of Global Studies Initiative on Forced Migration and Human Trafficking, Boston University; Senior Attorney, Casa Myrna Vazquez (Moderator)
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