2020 May 12

Compensation without remedy: why 30 reimbursed migrant workers are still exploited

Our recent publication "When Compliance is Not Enough - Why victims of forced labour should be partners in the remediation design" shows just why it is essential that workers are involved in the process of remediation, and raises a fundamental question about the limits of responsible business conduct: When companies address violations in their supply chains in accordance with their codes of conduct, but workers still suffer serious harm, does human rights due diligence require the companies to do more? Listen also to the recorded statement from a former worker at Possehl.

Nearly one year ago, 30 migrant workers and forced labour victims received some monetary compensation from Possehl Electronics in Malaysia, following an Electronics Watch investigation and joint buyer pressure. Their employer, the JS Global Services agency, had confiscated their passports, delayed wage payments for months, made illegal deductions from their wages, and violently threatened the workers when they asked for their wages. Buyers took action to ensure compliance with their codes of conduct. And yet many of these workers are still subsisting in intolerable conditions, exploited by other unscrupulous employers, and at risk of arrest, detention, and deportation.

Read full publication (in English) here.

Listen to the recorded statement from a former worker at Possehl. Their voice has been changed to protect their identity.