5 March 2020: Issara Institute releases five-year assessment of impact and trends in worker voice and responsible sourcing.
Issara has been working on human rights conditions across the Southeast Asian supply chains of many global buyers and industries over the past 5 years. Some things have changed...some things have not. What does the picture really look like on the ground, for workers, recruiters, and employers/suppliers?
ISSARA'S IMPACT OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS
can best be understood within our behaviour change-based theory of change. It recognizes that there are only 3 key actors directly involved in the process of labour exploitation and human trafficking:
Those being exploited (jobseekers and workers),
Those doing the exploiting (recruiters and employers), and
Those mandated to stop the exploitation (the duty bearers - government and business).
Issara's goal is to eliminate labour exploitation, forced labour, and human trafficking, and our interventions are designed to change the behaviours of these 3 key actors directly, towards this goal. Our interventions fall under 3 objectives:
Worker voice and empowerment: Jobseekers and workers actively identify and avoid exploitation.
Transforming supply chains: Recruiters and employers stop exploiting jobseekers and workers.
Transforming supply chains: Global buyers and government actively stop exploitation and trafficking, within their scope of responsibility.
TOP LEVEL LEARNING POINTS: 2014 - 2019
Daw Thi Thi Thein, Director,
Golden Royal Mandalay
There is now increased transparency in the recruitment process. By joining hands with civil society in raising awareness, we agencies have learned the difficulties that job seekers and communities are facing on the ground, and the efforts that civil society are making. I strongly believe that, together, we will be able to address the issue of people being deceived to pay high fees, and we will gain trust from job seekers and workers. This will make ethical recruitment possible.
Ma Moe Moe Aung, Rattanamahal Golden Dreams Ambassador,
In the past, we were having difficulty making calls to recruitment agencies. Now I'm so glad to see that the agencies are starting to come to the grassroots...so that people in our villages have an opportunity to ask questions and clarify things. Agencies can also learn what is happening on the ground and understand the difficulties. Otherwise, the responsible people in these agencies just make decisions based on what brokers tell them. We do not need brokers as we can contact recruitment agencies directly. However, we need this to happen on a bigger scale.
Daw Thet Thet Aung, Future Light Center (grassroots organization)
Engagement between civil society and recruitment agencies has been beneficial because as we conducted awareness raising together, civil society delivers safe migration messages while the recruitment agencies share the recruitment process and their roles, so that people can learn who is doing what, and broaden their knowledge. Communities and job seekers having direct contact with recruitment agencies has helped them to trust the agencies so that they will dare to contact the agencies directly.