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UN Migration Agency and Responsible Business Alliance Sign Agreement to Combat Forced Labor and Exploitation

The IOM and RBA signed a Memorandum of Understanding on October 17 to boost cooperation, promote ethical recruitment and protect the rights of migrant workers.

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GENEVA/ALEXANDRIA, Oct. 24, 2017 – IOM, the UN Migration Agency and the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), formerly the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on October 17 to boost cooperation, promote ethical recruitment and protect the rights of migrant workers.

According to the latest global estimates on modern slavery, approximately 25 million people worldwide are working in situations of forced labor. Unethical recruitment is a root cause of forced labor, as many migrant workers are subject to high recruitment fees, personal debt, complicated recruitment practices, a lack of transparency about their eventual working conditions, and inadequate legal protections in the countries in which they work.

This MoU provides a formal framework for IOM and RBA to pursue shared goals and objectives through exchange of information, subject matter expertise and connecting global networks. This includes coordinating the objectives and technical aspects of the RBA’s Responsible Labor Initiative (RLI) and the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS), which is being developed by IOM and a consortium of partners, as well as IOM and RBA training and other capacity-building initiatives and special projects.

IOM’s IRIS is a voluntary multi-stakeholder certification system for international recruitment intermediaries. It is comprised of an international standard, certification scheme and a compliance and monitoring mechanism. RBA’s RLI is a multi-industry, multi-stakeholder initiative that brings together members, suppliers, recruitment partners and stakeholders to use their collective influence and application of due diligence to drive the transformation of recruitment markets and reduce the risk of forced labor in global supply chains.

“The exploitation of migrant workers often begins at the recruitment stage when workers are charged predatory recruitment fees or provided with misleading information about the job on offer,” said Marina Manke, IOM Head of the Labour Mobility and Human Development Division. “It is imperative that governments, civil society and the private sector work together to stop this exploitation and to change the current international recruitment model. We are therefore pleased to be working with the RBA on this important issue,” added Manke.

“The IOM and RBA complement each other’s strengths and capabilities related to ethical recruitment and together we can be more effective at promoting the rights of workers vulnerable to forced labor in global supply chains,” said Rob Lederer, Executive Director of the Responsible Business Alliance. “The combination of IOM’s IRIS and the RLI’s Labor Agency Maturity Model with stepped levels of compliance toward certification is a robust tool in the fight against forced labor.”

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo, IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 9111, Email: and Jarrett Bens, Responsible Business Alliance, Tel: +1 571 858 5721, Email:


About RBA

The Responsible Business Alliance, formerly the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, is a nonprofit of leading electronics companies dedicated to improving social, environmental and ethical conditions in their global supply chains. RBA members commit and are held accountable to a common Code of Conduct and utilize a range of training and assessment tools to support continuous improvement. The RBA is comprised of more than 110 electronics companies with combined annual revenue of greater than $4.75 trillion and directly employing over 6 million people. For more information, visit and follow @RBAllianceOrg.

RBA Media Contact:

Jarrett Bens, Director of Communications
Responsible Business Alliance
Phone: +1 571.858.5721


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