IOM, VF Corporation Partner to Uphold Rights of Migrant Workers in SE Asia Pilot Recruitment Scheme
Ho Chi Minh City – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and VF Corporation (VF), a leading apparel, footwear and accessories company whose brands include Timberland and The North Face, have entered into a partnership to uphold migrant workers’ rights in garment and footwear supply chains in SE Asia.
“In the globalized economy, international labour mobility continues to rise, and migrants make up key elements of the labour force in supply chains. While the migration experience often leads to positive outcomes for migrants and their communities, many are still exposed to abuse and exploitation, during the recruitment process, in the workplace and on their return,” said IOM Viet Nam acting Chief of Mission Mark Brown.
“The IOM-VF pilot project is an example of the strong partnerships formed under IOM’s Corporate Responsibility for Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST) initiative. Together we are working together towards upholding migrant worker rights through ethical and socially responsible business operations, including the prohibition of charging recruitment fees and related costs to migrant workers,” Brown added.
The collaboration aims to implement ethical recruitment due diligence that addresses migrant workers’ vulnerabilities throughout the entire labour migration process. By engaging with labour recruiters in countries of origin, VF will help migrant workers in its supply chain in South East Asia to get improved access to ethical recruitment channels by the end of 2020. This will promote greater protection of migrant workers’ rights and help to reduce debt and other recruitment-related abuses that increase the risk of exploitation.
VF will subsequently roll out the new policies and procedures on a global scale and require all suppliers to adhere to ethical recruitment standards, including the employer pays principle. This ensures that factories cover recruitment fees and related costs in their labour supply chains.
Sean Cady, Vice President of Sustainability and Responsibility at VF said: “VF prohibits forced labour or modern slavery in any form in our supply chain. Our partnership with the IOM to uphold the rights of migrant workers in factories that produce VF goods is a further demonstration of our commitment to stop the exploitation of migrant workers in the garment and footwear industry. The programme is in direct alignment with our VF purpose and underpins our Forced Labour Policy.”
CREST is an IOM partnership initiative that aims to realize the potential of business to uphold the human and labour rights of migrant workers in their operations and supply chains.