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Five Global Companies Join Forces to Fight Migrant Worker Exploitation

Five Global Companies Join Forces to Fight Migrant Worker Exploitation

Published 05-06-16

Submitted by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

The Coca-Cola Company, HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IKEA and Unilever today in London launched a new collaboration, the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment, focused on promoting ethical recruitment and combating the exploitation of migrant workers in global supply chains across industries. The five founding companies have committed to the ‘Employer Pays Principle’, which states that no worker should pay for a job - the costs of recruitment should be borne not by the worker but by the employer.

For many people around the world, the search to earn a better living leads them to find work away from home. The promise of higher wages abroad, however, can in some cases result in exploitation, with many low-skilled workers in particular paying high recruitment fees, incurring large debts, and potentially finding themselves in situations of forced labour.

The Leadership Group will be championing the ‘Employer Pays Principle’ within their own industries and beyond, calling for similar commitments from other companies to drive positive change across all sectors. The Leadership Group will also work together over the coming months to develop a practical roadmap to underpin this call to action, a valuable tool for companies as they report under the UK Modern Slavery Act, California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and  the US Federal Acquisition Regulation.

Commenting on today’s launch, John Morrison, Executive Director of IHRB, the organisation convening the Leadership Group, said: “ The Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment has a bold aim - the eradication of worker fees over the coming decade. These five companies are setting an important new business standard and a challenge to other companies to prohibit fee-charging in their operations.”

Brent Wilton, Global Workplace Rights Director at The Coca Cola company, said: “The right to freely choose employment is severely eroded when workers have to pay recruitment fees simply to get a job. The Employer Pays Principle has the potential to make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of workers around the world, which is good for communities and good for business.”

“At IKEA we believe that we have an important role to play in helping people to lift themselves out of poverty and to provide a better life for themselves and their children. By joining with others to call for the adoption of the Employer Pays Principle, and by taking action ourselves, we want to contribute to creating positive change, ensuring the ethical recruitment of migrant workers and a brighter future for millions of people globally.” said Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group.

“Business can play a pivotal role in combatting the exploitation of migrant workers, but only if we work collectively to achieve this goal. The Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment will focus on encouraging broad implementation of the Employer Pays principle across industries.” said Lara Birkes, Chief Sustainability Officer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

“Workers in global supply chains deserve fair treatment. They should not have to pay to work. Collaboration among leading companies on this issue is critical to inspire and achieve the scale and momentum needed to advance the responsible recruitment of migrant workers globally.”  noted Stuart Pann, Chief Supply Chain Officer, HP Inc.

“Migrant workers are an integral part of global business yet the abusive use of migrant labour is prominent in many sectors. Businesses must come together and drive practices that empower rather than penalise the most vulnerable”. said Marcela Manubens, Global Vice President for Social Impact, Unilever.


The Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment – Statement of Intent and Employer Pays Principle


The Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment is a collaboration between five global companies and expert organisations, led by the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB).

        Member Companies:

        Non-corporate Expert Members:

  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Institute for Human Rights and Business
  • HP Inc.
  • Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • International Organization for Migration
  • IKEA 
  • Unilever
  • Verité


An event was held in London on 4 May 2016 to formally launch the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment, with speakers from the Leadership Group as well as the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and a representative of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  Further event details can be found here:

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