New Research Highlights Majority Of Seafarers Victim Of Fake Job Offers And Recruitment Fees

A new research highlights the issue of ‘recruitment fees’ – an illegal practice affecting seafarers around the world.

Seafarers And Recruitment Fees
Credit: Institute for Human Rights and Business

The research found that over two thirds (70%) of seafarers who have experienced violations of their workers’ rights say they were either charged recruitment fees – which can result in significant levels of debt leading to forced labour conditions – or were victims of fake job offers after making advance payments.

The Seafarers and Recruitment Fees research briefing, published by the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), surveyed almost 5,000 seafarers between September 2022 and February 2023.

The research shows that of those who experienced illegal charging of recruitment fees, the large majority (71%) did not report it, in most cases because they didn’t know where to report such abuses.

What are recruitment fees?

The charging of recruitment fees, which is an illegal practice prohibited by international maritime law, sees migrant workers frequently pay fees to agencies and brokers for recruitment and placement in jobs abroad.

These fees may cover costs including the recruitment itself, travel, visa and administrative costs, and often other unspecified ‘fees’ and ‘service charges’. These recruitment fees charged to workers represent the dominant business model in many parts of the world, including within the supply chains of leading brands.

Banning the charging of recruitment fees to workers is a key way that companies can ensure slavery-free supply chains.*

Read the report here.

Reference: Institute for Human Rights and Business

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