IOM supports businesses in their effort to eliminate slavery and human trafficking

On 22 December 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in partnership with the Dong Nai Industrial Zone Authority (DIZA) hosted a multi-stakeholder workshop on ‘Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Human Trafficking: International regulations and their impact on global supply chains’ in the Bien Hoa capital of Dong Nai province, one of Viet Nam’s top destinations for Foreign Direct Investment.

The workshop focused on new trends with regard to the private sector’s responsibility in eliminating slavery and trafficking in product and service supply chains, especially the shift from damage control to more brands being proactive, responsible and cooperative. The workshop also discussed two new major anti-forced labour legislations: the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015’s provision on Transparency in Supply Chains, and the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act 2010, as well as emerging voluntary initiatives. Introduced as an innovative solution to help companies maximize the benefits of migrant labour in supply chains, the IOM’s ‘Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Human Trafficking’ (CREST) programme attracted attention from more than 30 representatives from businesses operating in Dong Nai province.

Industrial parks in Viet Nam, including in Dong Nai, try to offer a safe working environment where the majority of migrant workers coming from other provinces are being recruited directly by the companies without intermediaries. This direct recruitment reduces the vulnerability of migrants to abusive practices. “However, we believe that in this current world of globalization and rapid changes, it’s crucial for businesses to stay alert to new trends and be proactive in their approach to issues that are of important concern to their customers, investors, and consumers”, said Mark Brown, Head of IOM office in Ho Chi Minh City. In 2017, IOM will work to support DIZA in delivering IOM’s CREST programme, including training for factory managers on slavery and trafficking, and a review of companies’ migrant recruitment policy.

It is estimated that over half of the world’s 21 million victims of forced labour are found in the Asia-Pacific region. The majority work in the formal economy – making the clothes we wear, harvesting the food we eat and producing the goods we take for granted in our everyday lives. Many of these victims are migrant workers. In this context, proactive approaches to ethical recruitment and supply chain management not only can help businesses to meet requirements from governments and their customers, but also can lead to a stronger and more motivated workforce, and facilitate better recruitment of migrant workers.

For further information, please contact IOM Vietnam. David Knight, Tel: +844 3850-1810. Email: dknight@iom.int.

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