Modern Slavery Risks in International Supply Chains: Why it Matters to Business and How to Act

On 17 September 2019, Deloitte Japan and IOM co-organized a half-day seminar dedicated to introducing attending Japanese companies to the fundamentals of modern slavery and forced labour. The seminar also aimed to foster a discussion on what this means for Japanese business and what can await companies looking to adopt more responsible and rights-based business practices, policies and supply chain management approaches.

After openings from IOM Japan and Monitor Deloitte's leadership, an introduction to "Modern Slavery Risks, Labour Migration and Experiences from Asia" was delivered by IOM Project Officer Joaquim Torrinha. The session provided the attendees with key conceptual elements behind the current discussion on modern slavery and forced labour in international supply chains, with particular reference to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and other normative frameworks. It also tried to demonstrate the risks faced by migrant workers in Asia by providing an example of a migrant worker's journey in the region and the hurdles she or he often faces in the recruitment process, on recruitment fees, employment terms and other areas were risks are present. 

The first presentation was followed by Panel I on "International Supply Chains and Modern Slavery Risks: what does it mean for Japanese companies?". The discussion followed the title of the panel, focusing on the impact of modern slavery risks in Japan and on Japanese businesses with international supply chains. The exchange included important inputs from diverse perspectives, following the naure of the organizations represented in this panel. Among them, the discussion and remarks did share a view: that now is the time for Japan and its business community to push forward regarding responsible business practices, underpinned by effective regulations. In general, a “new era for migration in Japan” was repeatedly mentioned, as well as the pressing necessity for the private sector to uphold the rights of migrant workers active in business operations and supply chains related to Japanese enterprises. 

IOM delivered a second presentation, this time showcasing the way IOM collaborates with business, the foundation of the CREST project, and how companies can engage with the organization in various work areas. IOM is experienced in working with companies, providing expert input, multi-location field support and project management capacity. This was shown by referring to several partnership projects, showing the audience why the organization can be a valuable partner for any business looking to adopt ethical recruitment and fair labour practices in its operations and throughout supply chains. The presentation also discussed IOM's International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS), as well as the importance of industry collaboration and the sharing of learnings with multiple stakeholders.

IOM was followed by the speaker from adidas Japan, who gave a presentation on the adoption of responsible recruitment and decent work principles and guidelines at the company. The session started with an historical overview of adidas' advancement in adopting rights-based standards, illustrating also why the group is generally considered among the most active multinational enterprises when it comes to sustainability. Mentioning also its ongoing collaboration with IOM, the presentation’s concluding message focused on highlighting to attending company representatives why it was imperative that businesses accept responsibility for those contributing to their products and services. 

Following the case study presentation, Panel II discussed possible corporate action against modern slavery, particularly the roadmap and costs of such action. The panellists exchanged diverse views on why businesses should change and how this could be done.

This seminar was attended by over 20 participants representing 19 Japanese companies from several different sectors.

Related Media Coverage:

The Mainichi [20.09.2019]

Presentation I

Presentation II



The supply chains of many Japanese and other multinational corporations are spread throughout the Asia-Pacific region, one of the most dynamic industrial hotspots in the world. Much of the work that allows such supply chains to function is done by migrant workers, who contribute directly or indirectly to many products and services available in markets around the world, including Japan. Among the most popular production hubs attracting migrant workers are, for example, Malaysia and Thailand, home to supply chains utilized by Japanese businesses active in overseas sourcing and manufacturing.

Millions of migrant workers, mostly originating from developing countries such as Bangladesh, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar and Nepal, leave their homes and families in search of better income. They are the most vulnerable to modern slavery and forced labour risks. 

25 million people around the world are in situations of forced labour, working across industries, geographies, and often hidden in plain sight. Almost one fourth are international migrant workers with the highest prevalence recorded in Asia (4 in 1000 people). In the region, many are uneducated individuals from poor rural areas seeking low-skill jobs in labour intensive industries. They are particularly vulnerable to unscrupulous recruiters and employers who take advantage of their need to relocate. Migrant workers in Asia are especially vulnerable to exploitative practices such as excessive recruitment fees, document retention, social and cultural isolation, restrictions to freedom of movement, absence of legal protection and other. 

Oftentimes, companies are unaware of the recruitment and employment practices carried out by overseas business partners. This means that they might be doing business with suppliers that are simply not doing enough to protect the human and labour rights of migrant workers during their employment - and at times even taking advantage of their vulnerabilities. Beyond the substantial impact this has on the lives of migrants, it also has a knock-on effect on business itself. In fact, the risk is in every step of production and sometimes companies are not aware that their products might have had the contribution, directly or indirectly, of a migrant worker in an abusive situation. 

The private sector shares a responsibility, together with governments, civil society and other actors, to uphold the rights of migrant workers - and it is well positioned to do so. Companies around the world are adopting standards to protect those involved in bringing their products and services to life, tracking risks, scrutinizing operations, and working with their partners towards change. In addition, many countries are adopting legislation that is pushing international business to take action against risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. 

IOM and other organizations have been working with businesses to improve their knowledge and capacity to uphold the human and labour rights of migrant workers. Change is inevitable and those businesses that understand how to act and change in this context will be better prepared to avoid future obstacles, scrutiny and negative exposure. Above all, they will be contributing to the fair and decent treatment of millions of migrant workers, who make a substantial contribution to today’s globalized market and the prosperity enjoyed by many all over the world.


But in practice, how does this all unfold? How can the private sector make a difference and why is it really its responsibility? How can lead firms implement standards and hold themselves and their suppliers to them? And what does this mean for suppliers? In turn, how can recruiters that hire migrant workers for lower tier suppliers in complex international supply chains ensure that they are being compliant? What is the cost of perpetuating non-compliant business models? Why work with international organizations?

This seminar seeks to answer these and other possible questions, discuss key concepts and trends, and show how change can look like in practice. The sessions will be led by IOM and other participating businesses and organizations that have been working on related topics, sharing their experiences and best practices from the field. 


This seminar is relevant for all companies operating in or with international supply chains, recruiters with an international portfolio, as well as professionals, researchers and policymakers working on labour migration-related topics. 


The event is primarily directed at businesses operating in or with international supply chains. The discussions aim to provide attendees with a better understanding of related issues, best practices, and solutions.  

In the end, participants will have: 
•    Learned about the risks of modern slavery in business operations and supply chains and best practices to address them
•    Understood the vulnerabilities of migrant workers and what is the role of companies, suppliers and recruiters to uphold their human and labour rights
•    Discussed national and international social compliance legislation
•    Gained knowledge on why partnerships with international organizations and NGOs can help change business 
•    Obtained practical insight on supply chain mapping, assisted development of policies and guidelines, pre-departure and post arrival orientation for migrant workers, and other relevant action
•    Obtained a better understanding on how their experiences as private sector actors can be shared to motivate other companies and competitors to follow the same approach
•    Understood in practice how companies can integrate management systems to control, monitor and enforce principles and guidelines that protect the rights of migrant workers in business operations and supply chains, and among suppliers and business partners.


Morning plenary, including presentations and panels, followed by a networking lunch.

Venue: Seminar Room, Shin-Tokyo building, 3-3-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Co-organized by:





09:00 - 09:30


09:30 - 09:35

Welcome Remarks

Mio Sato, Chief of Mission, IOM

09:35 - 09:40

Opening Remarks

Takeshi Fujii, Japan Leader, Monitor Deloitte

09:40 - 10:00

Opening Presentation

TBC Deloitte

10:00 - 10:15

Presentation I
Modern Slavery Risks, Labour Migration and Experiences from Asia

Joaquim Torrinha, Project Officer, IOM

10:15 - 11:00

Panel I
International Supply Chains and Modern Slavery Risks: what does it mean for Japanese companies?

>Moderator: Noriko Kishida-Kiyotani, Programme Manager, IOM Japan
Miwa Yamada, Director, Law and Institution Studies Group, IDE-JETRO
Masaki Wada, Director, Global Alliance for Sustainable Supply Chain (ASSC)
Takumo Yamada, Specialist Lead (Sustainability), Monitor Deloitte
Joaquim Torrinha, IOM

11:00 - 11:15


11:15 - 11:30

Presentation II
IOM-Business Partnerships: Equipping Business, Training Recruiters, Empowering Migrant Workers

Joaquim Torrinha, IOM

11:30 - 11:45

Presentation III (Case Study):
adidas’ Experience in Implementing Recruitment in Global Supply Chains

Tomomi Nara, Compliance Manager, adidas Japan

11:45 - 12:30

Panel II
Corporate Action Against Modern Slavery: Why is it necessary? How to do it? What is the cost of change?

>Moderator: Masaki Wada, ASSC
Hiroshi Sasa Supply Chain CSR Team, CSR & Sustainability Department, ASICS
Ryusuke Tanaka, Programme Officer, International Labour Organization (ILO)
Tomomi Nara, adidas Japan
Miwa Yamada, IDE-JETRO
Takumo Yamada , Monitor Deloitte
Joaquim Torrinha, IOM

12:30 - 13:45


13:45 - 14:00


Mio Sato, IOM

Mio Sato

Chief of Mission | International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Mio Sato has been working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Tokyo since October 2016.  She has worked in IOM offices in Kenya, Belgium, Indonesia, Iraq (based in Jordan) and Afghanistan since 2001. Prior to joining IOM, she worked with the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles, USA and the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA). She also worked at the Japan Platform (JPF) Secretariat in 2005 and took a position as Programme Advisor at the PKO secretariat of the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan in 2011.  

Takeshi Fujii

Japan Leader | Monitor Deloitte

Takeshi Fujii, Japan Leader of Monitor Deloitte/ Deloitte Innovation Practice, has been engaged in growth strategies, organizational reform, innovation and new business creation in a wide range of industries for 20 years. He advocates a CSV management model centered on solving social issues and creating social value, and proposing innovation strategies through tri-sector collaboration between companies, NPOs, NGOs, governments and international organizations. His most recent book "Future of Management driven by SDGs" was published in Dec. 2018 (Nikkei).

Keiko Tatsuwaki

Partner | Deloitte

Keiko is Japan Leader for Sustainability Services and is a partner within Risk Advisory at Deloitte Japan. She has been engaged in various governance and sustainability projects in which her recent projects include sustainability strategy planning, ESG risk management, and reporting. In the field of human rights, she has been delivering services such as human rights policy development, human rights due diligence, and supply chain monitoring.

Joaquim Torrinha

Project Officer | International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Joaquim Torrinha is a Project Officer at IOM Viet Nam, working on its Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST) project since 2018. He focuses on project development, stakeholder engagement and strategic communications. Previously, he served as Deputy Director at EuroCham Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, 2016-18) where he developed the organisation's management and strategy in several areas. Before, he was Project Manager of the EU-Indonesia Business Network (Jakarta, 2014-16). He worked at international organisations and in projects related to political and social affairs, communications, and culture in Brussels (EU Commission), Lisbon, and Singapore. He holds an MA in EU Interdisciplinary Studies and Governance, with a focus on migration policy (College of Europe, Belgium) and an MA in Communications (UCP, Portugal).

Miwa Yamada

Director, Law and Institution Studies Group, Inter-disciplinary Studies Center | Institute of Developing Economies - JETRO

Miwa Yamada leads the Law and Institution Studies Group at the Institute of Developing Economies of the Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO). She joined the Institute after working at a business law firm. Previously, she had conducted the “Japanese Companies and Responsible Supply Chain” Project, funded by Japan's Ministry and Economy, Trade and Industry (2016-2018). Her current research interests include human trafficking, human rights due diligence in supply chains with a focus on migrant workers in Japan and Asian countries, as well as the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in practice. Ms. Yamada was also a co-translator of the “OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct”. She holds an LL.M from Georgetown Univeristy (USA) and an LL.M from King’s College London (UK).

Masaki Wada

Director | Global Alliance for Sustainable Supply Chain (ASSC)

Masaki Wada is a Director at the Global Alliance for Sustainable Supply Chain (ASSC). He graduated from Southern Illinois University, Faculty of Economics (USA). Previously, Masaki worked for a major global manufacturer of sports equipment, where he managed CSR procurement and CSR promotion in Japan and Southeast Asia. In 2012, he was invited by the Business Policy Forum in Japan to become a researcher for a study group on Business and Human Rights. In 2013, he joined the Japan International Training Cooperation Organization (JITCO). Masaki is dedicated to CSR research and consulting services, particularly focusing on human rights and labour issues faced by migrant workers active in supply chains located in developing countries.


Takumo Yamada

Specialist Lead (Sustainability) | Monitor Deloitte

Takumo engages in sustainability-related consulting projects at Monitor Deloitte, as well as disseminating expert insights on the SDGs and sustainability more broadly in the forms of publications, seminars, and interviews. He specializes in analyzing stakeholder expectations on businesses, utilizing his 13 years of experience leading Oxfam’s advocacy work in Japan and its engagement with the UN SDGs negotiations on a wide range of issues related to global poverty and inequality.

Tomomi Nara

General Legal and Compliance Manager | adidas Japan

Tomomi Nara is General Legal and Compliance Manager at adidas Japan KK, while also partly contributing to the company's global Social and Environmental Affairs. She joined adidas in 2002, focusing on implementing the social compliance programme “Workplace Standard” among suppliers in Japan, particularly monitoring towards improving working conditions. Currently, she works on related topics, leading domestic stakeholder engagement in the framework of adidas' human rights due diligence activities, modern slavery outreach programs, and responsible recruitment policies.

Hiroshi Sasa

Supply Chain CSR Team, CSR & Sustainability Department | ASICS

As a member of Asics’s supply chain CSR team, Hiroshi currently engages in promoting improvement of the working environment, protection of human rights and capacity building of ASICS’ outsourcing factories inside and outside of Japan. He also worked on community problem solving and sports promotion through implementing earthquake disaster reconstruction projects for affected communities in Japan, in collaboration with local governments and NGOs. He joined ASICS in 2010 after working at a semiconductor manufacturing equipment company.

Ryusuke Tanaka

Programme Officer | International Labour Organization (ILO)

Ryusuke Tanaka is Programme Officer at the International Labour Organization (ILO)'s Office for Japan. In that capacity, he assumes the role of contact person for tripartite constituents in Japan and has engaged in activities related to international labour standards. particularly in the context of business and human rights. He is one of the members of the Working Group on the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights of the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Noriko Kishida-Kiyotani

Programme Manager | International Organization for Migration (IOM)

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