New Online Toolkit by Verité for Multinational Brands to Rid their Supply Chains of Labor Abuses

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Hiring Traps, Human Trafficking and Slavery Revealed in Verite’s Multi-Year Initiative Called HELP WANTED

Verité, the global NGO that works with the biggest companies in the world, today launches a tool to help eradicate human trafficking, debt bondage and slavery found in supply chains worldwide. The new online tool, part of Verité’s Help Wanted campaign, is based on years of research, on-the-ground investigation, and direct experience with workers and employers to understand and solve recruitment and hiring abuses. Help Wanted offers insight and solutions for multinational brands and their suppliers looking to rid their supply chains of human rights abuses by labor brokers.

The Help Wanted Initiative uncovers the systemic problems that result from the widespread reliance on labor brokers in the global economy, and the hiring traps that result whenever migrant workers seek jobs. Today’s global worker often crosses borders, and goes into extreme debt to do so.

The Help Wanted Initiative is the first NGO effort that offers practical, publicly-available tools for companies to dramatically improve their supply chains by eradicating hiring traps, trafficking ploys and labor abuses that result in modern day slavery across sectors from manufacturing to agriculture. These tools will make the difference between companies that try only to comply with the letter of the law, and those which actually clean up their supply chains.

“Companies can no longer assume that they do not have problems in their supply chains, or that if they do, that they can’t solve them,” says Dan Viederman, Verité CEO. “Help Wanted puts solutions in everyone’s hands—all stakeholder groups—and eliminates any excuse for inaction.’

The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act is one of several important regulatory backdrops to the Toolkit. Passed in October 2010, this law requires all retailers and manufacturers with revenues of more than $100 million which do business in California to disclose information about their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their direct supply chains. Viederman points out that the law allows companies merely to report their policies against forced labor, rather than necessarily doing the hard work that will result in impact.

“To meet the new regulations, companies have to only disclose their own policies and practices,” says Viederman. “But finding forced labor requires a bright light shining in all the places where a company manufactures goods, and where it sources raw materials. The Help Wanted Toolkit addresses the hidden and insidious abuse of forced labor found in all aspects of workers’ employment, from the moment of recruitment to on-site employment, across the entire supply chain. Companies can no longer say they have proactive CSR policies if they are not looking deep into their supply chains and directly addresses how workers are recruited, hired and managed by supply chain contractors,” Viederman added.

The Help Wanted Initiative includes:

·    The Fair Hiring Toolkit, an online resource, which has been designed to be used by multiple stakeholders (brands, suppliers, investors, governments, and advocates).

·    A digital platform that launches online at verite.org/helpwanted on June 15

·    The Fair Hiring Framework, a primer which gives a useful overview of the problem and summarizes Verité's toolkit of solutions. Available under the “Resources” menu on the Help Wanted site, or verite.org/helpwanted/research-reports/fair-hiring-framework

·    A policy brief for governments, companies and NGOs that highlights the major public policy frameworks, issues, debates and modes of interaction for reform.

·    In depth research reports on the link between trafficking and unscrupulous and largely unregulated labor brokers in multiple industries and countries worldwide, including in the United States.

·    Support in the form of training, consulting and assessment that Verité offers to individual stakeholder groups.

About Verité
Verité’s mission is to ensure people worldwide work under safe, fair, and legal conditions. Verité's programs and services empower companies, factories, farms, NGOs, governments, and workers to create sustainable labor practices in the working communities where consumer goods are manufactured and crops are grown. Verité's recent work includes working to eradicate child labor with Philip Morris International; supporting the Coalition
for Immokalee Worker's “penny per pound” program with migrant workers in tomato harvesting; and working with major electronic manufacturers on a new standard for supplier development. The NGO’s international experts and global partnership network are operating in over 65 countries, humanizing the global workplace and improving lives. For more information, visit http://www.verite.org.

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Mary Jo Viederman
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Emily Bloch
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