CREST Fashion: IOM is partnering with the fashion industry to eliminate slavery and trafficking
Recognizing the high exposure of migrant workers to industry-specific risks, IOM implements CREST Fashion, intervening more specifically in Asia’s apparel and home textile supply chains. The 3-year regional initiative aims to strengthen the capacity of the fashion industry to address the risks of labour exploitation, forced labour and human trafficking in the region.
The intersection between increasing demand for fashion goods and faster turnaround deadlines, coupled with a quest for competitive pricing has played a transformative role in a region with abundant domestic and transboundary labour supply. Such industrial developments have created a vortex of migration and recruitment dynamics which has become permeable to persistent labour rights violations.
Both internal and international migrant workers in fashion-related industries are found to suffer deplorable and hazardous working conditions, while facing high recruitment fees, long working hours, low wages, lack of regular contracts, and extremely tight deadlines without commensurate pay and rest hours. Incidents of forced labour and trafficking are particularly prevalent among migrants who fall victim to unscrupulous formal or informal recruitment intermediaries who deny them sufficient information on job terms and conditions, while charging excessive recruitment fees. Their vulnerabilities leave migrant workers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India and Lao People’s Democratic Republic at high risk of discrimination, exploitation and harassment.
The project, funded by the Laudes Foundation (former C&A Foundation) and the Government of Sweden, seeks to enable actors along the supply chain to address risks of exploitation and abuse in Bangladesh, India and Thailand. Through its direct partnerships with companies in the fashion industry, IOM provides strategic and practical solutions that are tailored to partners’ needs, while supporting longer term sustainable change for the better protection of the labour and human rights of migrant workers.