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AAFA and FLA challenge brands to renew and strengthen commitment to responsible recruitment

Issues Responsible Recruitment

WASHINGTON, DC, March 28, 2023 — Today, the American Apparel & Footwear Association and the Fair Labor Association re-launched and enhanced the AAFA/FLA Apparel & Footwear Industry Commitment to Responsible Recruitment.

Originally initiated in 2018, the Commitment was founded to align the industry around a clear and resolute commitment to the fair treatment of foreign migrant workers in the global textiles, apparel, footwear, and travel goods supply chain.

Under the original Commitment to Responsible Recruitment, each signatory committed to working with its partners to create conditions where workers:

  • Do not pay for their jobs;
  • Retain control of their travel documents and have full freedom of movement; and
  • Are informed of the basic terms of their employment before joining the workforce.

The enhanced Commitment to Responsible Recruitment builds on learnings over the past five years. Signatories now commit to create conditions where workers receive a timely refund of any fees and costs paid to obtain or maintain their job, if such conditions were already imposed.

The signing companies also agree to work to fully and effectively implement these practices, to incorporate the Commitment into their social compliance standards within one-year of signing, and to periodically report the signatory’s actions to imbed and implement the Commitment, such as through sustainability and/or modern slavery legal disclosures. Together with their members and Commitment signatories, AAFA and FLA will continue to review the enhanced Commitment to identify areas of future improvement.

“All workers must be treated with dignity and respect, period,” said Steve Lamar, President and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “Regrettably, migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to being abused, from having their passports and other travel documents withheld to being put in debt bondage or indentured servitude situations. By signing this Commitment, members of the textile, apparel, footwear, and travel goods industry are working to ensure that migrant workers are never put in these terrible situations and are fully and fairly compensated.”

“The new Commitment to Responsible Recruitment is vital to protecting migrant workers from recruitment debt that could lead to forced labor,” said Sharon Waxman, President and CEO of the Fair Labor Association. “By bringing together companies across the apparel and footwear industry, we help ensure that the employer pays for recruitment, not the workers. We are glad to see so many companies and their suppliers take these important steps and believe that the new provisions of the Commitment will drive real change for workers.”

The full text of the Commitment to Responsible Recruitment, details, and information on how companies can join the Commitment can be found here.

AAFA offers a variety of essential tools, resources, and guidance to ensure the products our industry produces, distributes, and sell do not harm workers and consumers and minimize our impact on the environment. 

FLA promotes human rights at work. Its programs help ensure that millions of people working at the world’s factories and farms are paid fairly and protected from risks to their health, safety, and well-being.

Today’s launch took place on the sidelines of the Second Summit for Democracy as a reminder that the protection of labor rights is a key component of protecting democracy.


About the American Apparel & Footwear Association
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers, which compete in the global market. Representing more than 1,000 world famous name brands, AAFA is the trusted public policy and political voice of the apparel and footwear industry, its management and shareholders, its more than three million U.S. workers, and its contribution of $470 billion in annual U.S. retail sales. AAFA drives progress on three key priorities: Brand Protection; Supply Chain & Sourcing; and Trade, Logistics, & Manufacturing. AAFA approaches this work through the lens of purpose-driven leadership in a manner that supports each member’s ability to build and sustain inclusive and diverse cultures, meet and advance ESG goals, and draw upon the latest technology.

About the Fair Labor Association
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) promotes human rights at work. We are an international network of companies, universities, and civil society organizations collaborating to ensure that millions of people working at the world’s factories and farms are paid fairly and protected from risks to their health, safety, and well-being.

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