Debt Bondage Payouts

Debt Bondage Payouts

For some time ACRATH has been concerned about migrant workers in the rubber glove industry in Malaysia. Along with St Vincent’s Health Australia and other NGOs, ACRATH engaged in advocacy to raise the plight of workers experiencing unethical recruitment, forced labour and debt bondage due to exorbitant recruitment costs. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic the demand for rubber gloves has increased dramatically  boosting the profits of manufacturers.

Following a US Government ban on disposable gloves from Top Glove, there has been a turn around. Led by Top Glove, maker of a quarter of the world’s 360 billion disposable gloves annually, over 20,000 workers  from the top four rubber glove manufacturers have now been reimbursed for the recruitment fees they had to pay. Some of the major glove manufacturers in Malaysia are also contracting consultants to offer advice on ethical recruitment.

Some industry experts are acclaiming the remuneration of recruitment fees paid by workers but say more needs to be done to focus on eliminating forced labour in the industry. Archana Kotecha, CEO of The Remedy Project, a social enterprise commented:

“Debt bondage issues rarely occur in isolation and are very often accompanied by a whole host of other issues such as poor living and working conditions, passport retention and restrictions on other freedoms.”

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