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Malaysia: Verité report offers evidence of widespread forced labour among migrant workers in electronics

Verite report on forced labour

In September 2014, Verité launched a report showing evidence of widespread forced labour among foreign migrant workers in the electronics industry in Malaysia. Included below are links to the report, responses from various groups, and other related items.

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Article
24 September 2014

Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition says it will use Verité’s report on forced labour as tool to find solutions

Author: Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition

“Electronics Industry Commitment to Combat Forced Labor in Supply Chains”, 17 September 2014

…[O]ne of the core principles of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) has been to combat trafficked and forced labor in the electronics industry supply chain…[T]he EICC welcomes the availability of new research on forced labor in electronics manufacturing, including today’s report on forced labor in electronics manufacturing in Malaysia authored by Verité…”In the lead-up to today’s report, the EICC engaged with Verité on their research and we look forward to using the report’s findings as a valuable tool to identify and find solutions on this important issue,” said Rob Lederer, Executive Director of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition…

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Article
24 September 2014

ILO “seriously concerned” about findings of forced labour by Verité; says report creates opportunity for Malaysian Govt. & employers to review policies

Author: International Labour Organization

“ILO statement on the VERITE report concerning working conditions in Malaysia's electronics sector”, 18 September 2014

The ILO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific is seriously concerned about the findings of the report by Verité…[I]t confirms that there are real problems with working conditions, employment and recruitment practices - particularly in relation to migrant workers - that need to be urgently addressed. By throwing a spotlight onto these abuses the report creates an opportunity for the Malaysian Government and employers to scrutinise recruitment and employment practices, and review the policies that contribute to making workers vulnerable. In particular, more can be done to make it easier for migrants to change employers, to protect their rights to join trade unions, and to ensure that discussions on migration policies include employers’ and workers’ organizations as well as all relevant parts of the Government…

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Article
24 September 2014

Vietnam Govt. says it will verify Verité’s findings of passport retention, debt bondage & will work with Malaysian counterpart to review bilateral agreement

Author: T. Hang, Thanh Nien News (Vietnam)

“Vietnam to verify report of 'modern slavery' among workers in Malaysia”, 22 September 2014

Vietnam will investigate whether 40 percent of its migrant workers suffer passport retention and debt bondage in Malaysia’s electronics sector as suggested in a US-funded report, which described the situation as tantamount to "modern slavery." “The Vietnamese Labor Management Board in Malaysia will follow up on the information provided in the report,” [said] Nguyen Thanh Hoa, deputy labor minister…Verité said each Vietnamese worker had to work off 3,500 Malaysian Ringgit (US$1,080) in recruitment fees -- the highest amount compared to workers from other countries, including Myanmar, Indonesia and Nepal. Meanwhile, Vietnamese workers received the lowest salaries – around 1,000 Malaysian Ringgit ($308) a month…Hoa…said his ministry would work with their Malaysian counterpart to review and change their bilateral cooperation agreement…

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Article
18 September 2014

Malaysia: One in three foreign workers surveyed was in a condition of forced labour, says Verité report

Author: Verité

“Groundbreaking Research Offers Concrete Evidence of Widespread Forced Labor Among Foreign Migrant Workers in Malaysian Electronics”, September 2014
…Verité’s two-year study of labor conditions in electronics manufacturing in Malaysia found that one in three foreign workers surveyed in Malaysian electronics was in a condition of forced labor. Because many of the most recognizable brands source components of their products from Malaysia, this means that virtually every device on the market today may have come in contact with modern-day slavery…The results of these extensive interviews indicate that forced labor is present in the Malaysian electronics industry in more than just isolated cases, and that the problem is indeed widespread…

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Article
18 September 2014

Malaysia: Report says debt bondage & illegal confiscation of passports are main drivers of “systemic” forced labour in electronics

Author: Annie Kelly, Guardian (UK)

“Modern-day slavery rife in Malaysia’s electronics industry”, 17 September 2014

One-third of migrant workers in the Malaysian electronics industry, which produces goods for some of the world’s best-known brands, are trapped in forced labour, a form of modern-day slavery, according to new research. A report by Verité, an NGO working on supply chain accountability, found that forced labour is present in the supply chains of a wide cross-section of household electronics brands…The NGO interviewed more than 500 workers and concluded that debt bondage and the illegal confiscation of passports and documents were the main drivers of this “systemic” forced labour, which traps workers in low-paid jobs and prevents them from returning home…Once in the workplace, migrant workers face further exploitation and abuse due to their inability to leave…

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Article
5 January 2015

Malaysia: Report details plight of migrant workers facing indentured servitude in electronics industry

Author: AFP, Daily Mail

“No escape for those stuck in Malaysian 'forced labour'”, 28 December 2014

…Labour activists say…abuses are rife in Malaysia's electronics manufacturing sector, a vital link in a global supply chain producing components for major brands like Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Sony and Samsung…But at least one-third -- possibly many more -- of Malaysia's 350,000 electronics workers face indentured servitude similar to "modern-day slavery,"…Up to 60 percent of Malaysia's electronics workers are estimated to be vulnerable foreigners from impoverished countries, and Verite said 94 percent of foreign labourers it surveyed had their passports seized…Activists said a key exploitative factor is that many workers are paid and managed by third-party agents, leaving labourers in a grey area that prevents them seeking recourse from factory owners…[refers to Apple, Hewlett-Packard, JCY HDD Technology, Samsung, Seagate, Sony, Western Digital]

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