How ethical recruitment can impact workers and their families, whilst reducing the incidence of forced labor

The Ethical Recruitment Agency, a subsidiary project of Seefar, has published a new report on the impacts that ethical recruitment has on both workers and their families, whilst analysing how it can reduce incidences of forced labor. With the support of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation‘Ethically Recruited: How ethical recruitment can impact workers and their families, and reduce the incidence of forced labor generates new evidence on the recruitment of migrant workers, which adheres to international ethical recruitment standards. The research focuses specifically on the labor migration landscape in Uttar Pradesh, in India.

Some of the main findings of the report were:

  • All respondents said they would migrate abroad through an ethical recruitment agency if given the opportunity. They stated that it would be a relief to not have to spend money during the recruitment process. However, it takes time to build trust in no-fee recruitment options as respondents considered this practice highly unusual.
  • Debt and debt-bondage linked to traditional forms of recruitment were less pronounced among returned migrant workers in Uttar Pradesh than expected. Instead, workers and their families save up with the explicit purpose to pay recruitment fees.
  • Family members play a key role in paying recruitment fees. They also described significant levels of stress and mental health issues related to having to pay for recruitment costs. Ethical recruitment can likely lower families’ mental health and stress levels related to paying for recruitment.
  • Paying back debt correlated with sending fewer remittances back home among migrant workers. Of the respondents who borrowed money and paid their debt with their monthly salary, 60% were significantly more likely to send fewer remittances than those who did not borrow at all.
  • The most often reported indicators of forced labor among our sample included: limited freedom of movement during recruitment and while working abroad; inability to leave an employer and job to return home or find another job abroad; false information about the nature of the work; poor living conditions; and inadequate and incorrect pay (i.e., not aligned with what was promised).
  • There were significant differences in negative physical health experiences between those who indicated they were recruited by a recruitment agency, versus those who reported having been recruited through family, friends, neighbors, a government agency, or directly through the company.

You can read more about our findings today:

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