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November 1, 2018

Apparel & Footwear Industry Commitment to Responsible Recruitment is a step in the right direction

This blog was originally posted on KnowTheChain.

At KnowTheChain we believe that companies and investors can be a powerful force in changing the conditions under which people work in their global supply chains. We also know that companies acting individually cannot eliminate a practice endemic to an entire industry.

This week we were pleased to see 123 apparel and footwear companies sign on to the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and Fair Labor Association (FLA) Apparel & Footwear Industry Commitment to Responsible Recruitment – pledging 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 workers are informed of the basic terms of their employment before joining the workforce.”

KnowTheChain recently completed a study of the Apparel & Footwear sector, and we are currently putting together our 2018 benchmark report on the industry.

Right now, there are hundreds of millions of migrants working outside their home country around the world. These migrants need to work to support their families, and opportunistic “recruiters” can use deceptive practices to take advantage of them. No worker in today’s global economy should have to pay for a job, yet exorbitant recruitment fees are pervasive and take advantage of the most vulnerable workers, leaving them trapped in debt bondage.

From the laborers harvesting the raw materials, to the factories at the final stage of production, workers in the apparel & footwear sector are at risk of forced labor and human trafficking – and the companies who benefit from their work are at risk of legal, financial, and reputational damage.

The AAFA and FLA have joined other leading groups like the Responsible Business Alliance and Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment in committing their members to act on the risks posed to those migrating for work. We commend them and every other association that has acted on behalf of its members to raise the bar for an entire sector.

We hope this bold commitment is met with meaningful and lasting efforts to both implement these commitments and hold the sector accountable for meaningfully protecting workers.

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