Remarks as prepared for delivery by Shelly Heald Han, Fair Labor Association, at Global Supply Chains, Forced Labor, and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Roundtable of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) is deeply troubled by credible reports of forced labor and other violations of fundamental human rights in the Xinjiang region of China. We call for an immediate end to these violations and pledge to work collaboratively with governments, civil society, unions, and multilateral organizations to achieve this goal.
November 6, 2018 – Malaysia and Indonesia are leading producers of palm oil, together accounting for 86 percent of global production and employing nearly 3.5 million workers, largely migrants from poorer neighbouring regions and countries.
Environmental concerns related to palm oil production emerged in the early 2000s, but it is only recently that conversations about the palm oil sector have included social, labor, and human rights issues. As awareness grows about poor working conditions and forced labor in the palm oil sector, governments around the globe, particularly in Europe, have taken notice and are exploring bans on the use of palm oil.
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – October 22, 2018 – Today, 123 apparel and footwear companies signed the new “AAFA/FLA Apparel & Footwear Industry Commitment to Responsible Recruitment,” reflecting the industry’s commitment to the fair treatment of workers in the global apparel, footwear, and travel goods supply chain.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), an estimated 215 million children are involved in child labor worldwide, and an estimated six million children are forced to work around the world. In December, the U.S. Department of Labor launched a free toolkit to help companies develop programs to combat forced and child labor in their supply chains.
On April 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service announced the opening of the public comment period on recommendations – made by the Consultative Group to Eliminate the Use of Child Labor and Forced Labor in Imported Agricultural Products – for voluntary private-sector monitoring and verification of child labor and forced labor in supply chains.
Issues: During a 2009 factory visit, FLA assessors found that foreign staff at a factory producing apparel for adidas Group and Nike, Inc. lacked required legal work permits. In addition, some printing department workers, who neither asked to leave nor signed a withdrawal notice, were compelled to leave the union without their consent. The union leader said most printing department workers did not wish to be involved in the union; therefore, they decided to drop these workers from the roster and stopped collecting their dues.