Certifying Exploitation: “Sustainable” Palm Oil Is Failing Workers

Publication Date: 

April 5, 2018

In August of 2016, Amnesty International released a detailed report exposing egregious labor violations—including forced labor, child labor, exposure to toxic pesticides, and failure to pay minimum wages—on plantations owned by palm oil giant Wilmar, a supplier to major global brands, including Unilever, ColgatePalmolive, Kellogg’s, Nestle, and Procter & Gamble. Incredibly, three of the five plantations where the abuses were documented were certified as “sustainable” palm oil producers by the industry certification scheme, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan: A Workers’ Organization Or Instrument to Control Workers?

Publication Date: 

November 28, 2017

For decades, International human rights groups, the United Nations, including the World Bank and the International Labour Organization (ILO), have gravely condemned Uzbekistan for its use of state-orchestrated child and forced labor particularly in—but by no means limited to—Uzbekistan’s cotton industry. Nevertheless, though each year independent monitors report a growing number of adults forcibly recruited to work as cotton pickers, and though other forced adult labor flourishes throughout Uzbekistan (e.g.

The Human Cost of Conflict Palm Oil Revisited

Publication Date: 

November 27, 2017

Increasingly, the exploitation of workers has been at the center of controversies in the palm oil industry. In 2015, forced labor and human trafficking on the plantations of one of Malaysia’s biggest palm oil companies, Felda Global Ventures, made front page news in the Wall Street Journal, showing that global brands are buying Conflict Palm Oil produced by forced labor.

Stop Trafficking by Sea Data Development Workshop Report

Publication Date: 

October 12, 2017

On 12 and 13 October 2016, the International Labour Rights Forum (ILRF) convened a diverse group of experts in technology, human trafficking, labor rights, seafood supply chains, vessel monitoring, and other relevant fields at a workshop in Bangkok. The purpose of the two-day workshop was to explore the applicability of satellite-based vessel tracking technology, in combination with newly available and emerging data about fishing crews, to assess and mitigate risks of human trafficking on fishing vessels.