Forced Labour

"Many workers are threatened with termination if they refuse overtime."

The ILO estimates that 24.9 million people are forced to work under the threat of coercion worldwide. Almost one of every four victims of forced labour are migrant workers, and 15% work in manufacturing.

In the electronics industry, migrant workers are particularly at risk of forced labour as highlighted in Verité’s seminal study on forced labour in the production of electronics goods in Malaysia. It found nearly one-third of migrant workers in situations of forced labour. US Department of Labor notes reason for concern of forced labour in electronics production in both China and Malaysia, and deeper in the supply chains, in the extraction of tin, tungsten (wolframite), and gold in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Electronics Watch monitoring reports highlight risk of forced labour in the electronics industry in China, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Risks are often associated with migrant workers who may incur large debts in their pursuit of employment and may face debt bondage. They can be deprived of passports and work documents or held in a place of employment against their will. However, other workers face other forms of coercion, including student workers forced to "intern" (read, "do regular work for less pay") in a factory in order to obtain an educational diploma.

Read workers' story "When Overtime is Forced Labour"