Asos addresses modern slavery at event in Mauritius
Asos and the British High Commission are hosting a modern slavery event in Mauritius this Thursday with the aim of discussing the challenges in managing labour migration and agreeing a common framework for workers’ rights.
The event follows the release of Asos’ first Modern Slavery Statement last year, which described Mauritius as an area of risk due to high levels of systemic labour violations, including migrant workers being trapped in bonded labour.
Taking place in Port Louis, Mauritius, the event includes talks and presentations by the Mauritian and Bangladeshi governments, the International Labour Organisation, the IndustriALL Union, the Ethical Trading Initiative and Anti-Slavery International.
Key executives from fashion brands manufacturing on the island, such as Adidas, zLabels, Puma, Woolworths and Whistles, are also attending alongside other local and international stakeholders.
Simon Platts, Sourcing Director, Asos, said, “We’re grateful for the support of the British High Commission, the Mauritian and Bangladeshi governments and the many other speakers and guests attending today’s event. The hope is that by sharing experience and expertise, we can encourage efforts to prevent exploitation during recruitment, and engage governments to effectively enforce legislation to protect migrant workers. Ultimately we believe this collective approach will help to protect the rights of workers in Mauritius, particularly those who are most vulnerable.”
In its Modern Slavery statement, Asos said that 53% of workers in Mauritian garment factories are migrant workers recruited from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka or Madagascar, who are frequently asked to pay fees to recruitment agencies prior to gaining employment abroad. These fees can leave workers trapped in situations where they have little choice but to work until their debt is repaid.
Asos has been working towards becoming a more socially responsible fashion brand for a while now, and last October, it became the first e-commerce brand to sign a Global Framework Agreement with IndustriALL, the world’s largest sectorial trade union organisation.
Next month, the company is also co-hosting an event at the House of Lords with Baroness Lola Young, on ethics and sustainability in fashion to identify and address shared risks in the apparel sector for its supplier base.
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