Addressing Forced Labor from the Bottom Up

February 02, 2022

Forced labor, also referred to as modern slavery or involuntary work, is one of the most pervasive issues facing supply chains today. According to estimates from the International Labor Organization (ILO), there are 25 million people in forced labor. Forced labor can take many forms in the supply chain from debt bonded labor to underage/child labor to human trafficking.

It is easy to denounce egregious human rights violations, however, what forced labor can often look like on the factory floor is less conspicuous. Some of the most common signs of forced labor include:

Misleading and coercive recruitment

The job that a worker was recruited for or the terms of that job change without their consent or understanding.

Withholding personal documents

An employer confiscates or controls access to a worker’s passport, working permits, travel documents, etc. This can also lead to restricted freedom of movement.

Forced overtime

A worker is forced to work outside of regular working hours with no choice.

Withholding wages

When a worker’s wages are delayed or withheld as a tool of control and to keep them on the job.

Governments, brands, and organizations have started to work to address these issues. For example, the UK passed the Modern Slavery Act, which requires companies to report on their efforts to ensure their supply chain is free from forced labor and human trafficking. Big and small companies alike are including commitments to prevent forced labor in their codes of conduct, supplier standards, and human rights due diligence efforts.

To contribute to these efforts, Quizrr has launched a global initiative to eradicate forced labor in supply chains with the support of funding from The Walt Disney Company’s Supply Chain Investment Program. In line with Quizrr’s tried and tested methodology, we have developed a user-centric, interactive digital training tool to educate workers, managers, and labor agents on their rights and responsibilities when it comes to responsible recruitment and employment. This training is built around ILO Core Conventions, IOM's forthcoming Migrant Worker Guidelines for Employers, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, UN SDGs 5, 8, 12, 17, and global best practices.

Having trained nearly 300,000 factory employees worldwide, we have seen the need and desire for digital training solutions grow, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our accessible, digital training allows for a wider reach compared to traditional face-to-face trainings and it allows for trainings to be conducted in a safe, public health-conscious way.

The ability to reach and support more workers, even under difficult circumstances and at any tier in the supply chain, is vital in the fight against forced labor. The Quizrr initiative is just one part of the solution. To eradicate forced labor, governments, companies, suppliers, labor agents, and consumers must all commit to the effort. Educating workers empowers them to know their rights, exercise their rights, and work with dignity – all with the larger goal of fairer, more ethical supply chains.

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