Over 150 million people travel abroad to find work, but many of those going through recruitment agencies are at risk of being trafficked and falling into modern slavery.
To combat this problem, the Fair Labour Alliance is pushing for an overhaul of how recruitment channels work, aiming to educate and help businesses around the world promote ethical recruitment.
The Alliance was formed with support from the UK Department for International Trade, King’s College London, FSI Worldwide, and VHR Global Recruitment.
In an op-ed for Thomson Reuters Foundation, Adrian Mansfield from VHR Global Recruitment explains the Fair Labour Alliance will work:
The initiative will operate in some of the countries where slavery or coerced labour are most common, helping businesses identify the signs of slave labour. From there, it will provide support for those businesses looking to recruit high volumes of labour, teaching them how to find qualified workers without exploiting or harming them.
The alliance will also hold events to share practical solutions that businesses have used in their recruitment endeavours. Through networking, businesses will be able to better understand best practices in recruitment, and make changes accordingly.
Workers that are free to make their own decisions and that are rewarded and incentivised for their work perform better, and by creating a culture of safety and mutual respect, businesses can cultivate better results. A recent study into the benefits of ethical recruitment shows that after implementing an ethical recruitment model:
71% of business leaders saw an increase in positive worker morale, increasing efficiency
42% observed improved productivity
57% of business leaders reported improved business performance
In addition, the Fair Labour Alliance aims to educate migrant workers about their rights, warning signs to watch out for, and how to report unscrupulous practices.
Mansfield says any recruitment agency should have regular oversight, including anonymous reports of their practices, and that survivors of trafficking are key to giving insight into how human traffickers dupe victims through recruitment.