ILO Meeting Report


As part of its ISEAL Innovations Fund project, SAN was invited to attend a meeting at the UN Office of Human Rights in Geneva, convened by the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children. The purpose of the meeting was to bring together a small group to discuss the issue of labour exploitation in international supply chains.

The Special Rapporteur is focused on two areas of work: Worker Voice and Remediation. The special rapporteur will be developing specific guidance on how to increase worker voice in multistakeholder initiatives and will also be developing guidance for stronger and worker-adapted remediation approaches.

The Fair Food Program from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Issara Institute were two innovative groups that presented their approaches and models.

One key message: Worker voice should not be confused with worker feedback. Worker voice is focused on delivering empowerment, and feedback used my many as a due diligence tool.

Three key takeaways from the meeting that are needed to effectively address forced labour:

  • Power: strong commitment from brands and retailers and using the power of procurement to drive positive action and, importantly, ensure enforcement. 
  • Presence: effective local partnerships for appropiate action including the ability to protect workers who do report issues, from reprisals.
  • Resource: Addressing forced labour and trafficking requires significant resources to deliver effective action in high-risk areas.