NEW YORK – More than 100 global apparel and footwear companies have pledged to tackle forced labour risks for migrant workers in supply chains. Signatories, including Adidas, Levi’s, Eileen Fisher, Nike, New Balance, Ralph Lauren and Patagonia, have committed to a treaty drawn up by the American Apparel & Footwear Association and Fair Labor Association.
The commitment provides an industry effort to address potential forced labour risks for migrant workers, with each signatory committing to working with partners to create conditions where no worker pays for their job; where workers retain control of their travel documents and have full freedom of movement; and where workers are informed of the basic terms of their employment before joining the workforce.
The signing companies also agree to work to “seriously and effectively” implement these practices, to incorporate the Commitment into their social compliance standards by December 31, 2019, and to periodically report actions through sustainability and/or modern slavery legal disclosures.
“Creating a more transparent supply chain has long been a focus of the apparel and footwear industry and removing the possibility of forced labor is a major part of these efforts,” said Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “Not only does this Commitment show that our industry does not tolerate forced labor, but it also shows our customers that we take this issue seriously and are proactively working together as an industry to initiate measures to ensure these values are respected throughout the supply chain. We hope that many other members of our community will join us in the near future.”
“Far too often, forced labor begins even before a worker shows up at a factory. It starts with recruitment practices that require migrant workers to pay an exorbitant amount of money just to secure a decent job in a foreign country,” said Sharon Waxman, president and CEO of the Fair Labor Association, “With this renewed commitment to responsible recruitment, we hope to bring the power of collective action to highlight these harmful, and sometimes deceptive, practices and protect workers against forced labor in global supply chains.”