Christmas and Slavery

As they compete to get Christmas shoppers the newest tablets, phones and cameras, electronics makers contract with suppliers, factories and labor recruiters across the globe. For consumers, this means a bonanza of ever-cheaper, more convenient gadgets. But for those at the opposite end of the supply chain, employment recruiters charging steep fees to people who want to migrate to jobs in overseas manufacturing hubs can saddle workers with debt that they must work for many months or years to pay off.

To help stamp out this practice, the U.S. government has proposed new rules that would prohibit the charging of recruitment fees for any work it contracts. The Electronic Industry Citizen Coalition’s code of conduct already forbids charging workers “excessive” recruitment fees — but doesn’t say what that means. Even when a company limits fee, workers may end up paying more that the limit as recruiters impose additional charges.

Even though the new rules place the onus on companies to abolish charging fees, government investigators will still have to look for human trafficking connected with procurement processes. They will need the resources it takes to vigorously pursue cases.

Learn more at The Tampa Tribune article: Christmas gadgets and modern-day slavery.


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