The "No Fees" Initiative

Millions of workers become slaves through the actions of unscrupulous labor brokers who charge exorbitant recruitment fees, either do not provide contracts or change contract terms, impose unreasonable deductions from promised wages and leave workers vulnerable to exploitation.

ICCR's “No Fees” initiative is designed to ultimately lead companies to create robust management systems which will ensure that workers in their immediate and extended supply chains are not forced to pay for employment. As the "pay for work" practice is especially prevalent at the commodity-sourcing level of the food supply chain,  the “No Fees” initiative initially focused on promoting ethical recruitment in palm oil and seafood sourcing, and has now scaled up to include companies in the electronics, apparel, and extractives sectors. 

“No Fees” builds upon decades of productive ICCR corporate engagements on human rights and supply chain issues and further amplifies three years of ICCR member-led engagements with companies in the food and beverage, electronics, tourism and retail sectors on labor practices.

Featured ICCR Initiative

ICCR's No Fees Initiative asks companies to adopt three basic principles, to prevent the exploitation of migrant workers. These three pillars should be integrated into every corporate recruitment policy: 

• A company and its suppliers/sub-contractors shall ensure that no fees or costs have been charged, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, to job-seekers and workers for services directly related to recruitment for temporary or permanent job placement, including when using the services of private recruitment, labor broker or employment agent or performing recruitment activities directly.

Workers shall receive a written contract at the point of recruitment in their native language, stating in a truthful, clear manner their rights and responsibilities.

Employers shall not retain any documents or demand monetary deposits or other collateral as a condition of employment. Workers shall not be subject to the withholding of wages, illegal or unexplained deductions from their wages, or seizure of identification cards, passports or other travel documents, or personal belongings without their consent.

Beyond the three pillars, ICCR members are engaging companies to request that they:

  • Create/supplement company policy and ensuing document regarding ethical recruitment. A robust company policy demonstrates a company commitment to respecting human rights, with reporting mechanism feeding into the current reporting on transparency in the supply chains act.
  • Establish procedures that ensure suppliers are abiding by the company policy to recruit responsibly.
  • Implement a supply chain traceability program to track the commodity to the producer
  • Cease any relationships with suppliers that do not cooperate on the issue.
  • Participate in the multi-stakeholder network of NGOs, investors, companies, trade associations and trade unions that are collectively working adopt better recruitment practices in given commodities (RSPO) and share the steps taken to ensure that the social/labor component stays on the sustainability agenda. 

Featured ICCR Resources

Confronting Unethical Recruitment Practices: Modern Slavery in the Thai Seafood Sector: Listen to ICCR's webinar, featuring Valentina Gurney, associate program director, ICCR; Lisa Rende Taylor, director of Project Issara, Anti-Slavery International; and Genevieve Taft, Global Workplace Rights, The Coca-Cola Company.

Free and Fair labor in Palm Oil Production: Principles and Implementation Guidance. A key guidance document from Humanity United.

ICCR's Statement of Principles and Recommended Practices for Sustainable and Equitable Food Production: Integral to the sustainability of our food system is the health and prosperity of its workforce.

ICCR's Statement of Principles and Recommended Practices to Confront Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery: Upholding the dignity of the human person is the overarching principle upon which ICCR’s anti-slavery work is based.

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity; A set of human rights-based principles to enhance respect for the rights of migrant workers from the moment of recruitment, during employment and through to further employment or safe return to home countries.

Verite's Fair Hiring Toolkit: The Fair Hiring Toolkit offers tools, guidance, and approaches to support the responsible recruitment and hiring of migrant workers in global supply chains.




Recruited into Slavery: ICCR Original Research

How does unethical labor recruiting put workers at risk for human trafficking?

How unethical labor recruitment puts workers at risk for human trafficking.

No Fees Initiative

Ethical labor recruitment talking points.

Modern slavery in the Thai Seafood Sector

Confronting Unethical Recruitment Practices Modern Slavery in the Thai Seafood Sector

ICCR's webinar on confronting unethical labor recruitment practices.