123 Apparel and Footwear Companies Sign New “AAFA/FLA Apparel & Footwear Industry Commitment to Responsible Recruitment”

October 22, 2018 | WASHINGTON, D.C.

Today, 123 apparel and footwear companies signed the new “AAFA/FLA Apparel & Footwear Industry Commitment to Responsible Recruitment,” reflecting the industry’s commitment to the fair treatment of workers in the global apparel, footwear, and travel goods supply chain. 

Developed in conjunction with the American Apparel & Footwear Association and the Fair Labor Association, the Commitment is a proactive industry effort to address potential forced labor risks for migrant workers in the global supply chain. Each signatory commits to working with its partners to create conditions where no worker pays for their job; where workers retain control of their travel documents and have full freedom of movement; and workers are informed of the basic terms of their employment before joining the workforce. The signing companies also agree to work to “seriously and effectively” implement these practices, to incorporate the Commitment into their social compliance standards by December 31, 2019, and to periodically report the company’s actions through sustainability and/or modern slavery legal disclosures.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association and the Fair Labor Association created the Commitment because reducing potential forced labor risks for migrant workers in the global supply chain is next to impossible for a single company to accomplish alone. True progress towards these goals can only be made when the industry collectively works together in collaboration on this important issue.

“Creating a more transparent supply chain has long been a focus of the apparel and footwear industry and removing the possibility of forced labor is a major part of these efforts,” said Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “Not only does this Commitment show that our industry does not tolerate forced labor, but it also shows our customers that we take this issue seriously and are proactively working together as an industry to initiate measures to ensure these values are respected throughout the supply chain. We hope that many other members of our community will join us in the near future.” 

“Far too often, forced labor begins even before a worker shows up at a factory. It starts with recruitment practices that require migrant workers to pay an exorbitant amount of money just to secure a decent job in a foreign country,” said Sharon Waxman, President and CEO of the Fair Labor Association, “With this renewed commitment to responsible recruitment, we hope to bring the power of collective action to highlight these harmful, and sometimes deceptive, practices and protect workers against forced labor in global supply chains.” 

The full text of the Commitment to Responsible Recruitment, details, and information on how companies can join the Commitment can be found here

About the American Apparel & Footwear Association

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers, which compete in the global market. Representing more than 1,000 world famous name brands, retailers, and manufacturers — AAFA is the trusted public policy and political voice of the apparel and footwear industry, its management and shareholders, its nearly four million U.S. workers, and its contribution of $384 billion in annual U.S. retail sales. AAFA provides exclusive expertise in supply chain management, trade policy, and brand protection, to help our members navigate the complex regulatory environment and lower costs. Members gain unparalleled access to information and exclusive insights on regulation and policy, and premier opportunities for networking and collaboration.

About the Fair Labor Association 
Since 1999, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) has helped improve the lives of millions of workers around the world. As a collaborative effort of socially responsible companies, colleges and universities, and civil society organizations, FLA creates lasting solutions to abusive labor practices by offering tools and resources to companies, delivering training to factory workers and management, conducting due diligence through independent assessments, and advocating for greater accountability and transparency from companies, manufacturers, factories and others involved in global supply chains. Companies affiliated with the FLA have already committed to addressing recruitment fees and other indicators of forced labor through the FLA Code of Conduct and Principles. This pledge further solidifies their commitment to responsible recruitment and provides a powerful industry platform for collaboration on the addressing forced labor risks.