Recruitment of Women Migrant Workers: A Look at Technology Factories in Taiwan

Recruitment of Women Migrant  Workers: A Look at Technology Factories in Taiwan

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Hi, everyone, and welcome. We are here today to talk about women's experience as migrant workers in Taiwan's electronics factories, and their journey in the migration corridors, in the migration journey to work and also on site and once they return home. The purpose of this panel today is to really center the conversation on the role of women in responsible recruitment in the sector. And to begin a combined conversation around what typically has been very separate conversations around responsible recruitment and around gender strategy.

We often see this disconnect when we talk about women's central role in responsible recruitment. So I'm joined here by three panelists for our conversation today representing both the academic and research perspective and private sector perspective. So we have Dr. Bonny Ling, who is the Executive director of Work Better Innovations, also a research fellow at the Institute for Human Rights and Business and a fellow at the University of Nottingham Taiwan Studies Programme. Also joined by Maria Gorsuch Kennedy, who leads Cisco's supply chain sustainability program which includes human rights, responsible minerals, and circular economy. Finally, we're joined by Pam Wood, who leads Hewlett Packard Enterprise's Global Human Rights Program, which covers supply chain responsibility, responsible product development and responsible use.

Then finally, I'm Lauren Murphy. I lead the ICRW Advisors team. It's the International Center for Research on Women's Global Consulting team based out of Washington, DC.

So we are very pleased to be with you all today, albeit virtually, to discuss this intersection of gender and responsible recruitment in a very particular scenario, which is electronics factories in Taiwan. The question is, why are we having this conversation today and now? For a few reasons. One, COVID has shown us how very fragile supply chain sustainability is, and women are core to supply chain resilience in electronics factories and other sectors as well, such as apparel and agriculture. We're also seeing data come through. As of this month, the Institute of Migration showing that women's role in migration, in modern day slavery continues to be compromised. Women and girls comprise over half of those in modern day slavery and of the 6.3 million people in situations of forced labor

and sexual exploitation, women and girls represent four or five of those people. Finally, tech companies increasingly are wanting to create triangulated gender strategies throughout their supply chain and in their company. So women as leaders, women as employees, women in supply chain, and women in community.

And we know comparatively very little about women's experience in electronic factories, for example, as compared to the apparel sector. So today is meant to shine a light on women's roles in this sector that's comparatively less talked about, as we compare to apparel and agriculture, for example. So today's conversation wie'll cover women's recruitment journey once they're on site and also to a limited extent, their return home. And why are we focusing on these three prongs? It's because we know that women often take irregular and more dangerous migration routes, and they're subject to higher rates of human rights violations on their journey to site. Once they're on site, we know they're disproportionately affected by sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, wage inequity, and lack of wage transparency and on their return home, they can face stigma and rejection. So I wanted to, before jumping into our panel, paint an ideal scenario of what a woman's journey could look like as she goes to an electronics factory in Taiwan and to keep that true north vision in mind as we have today's discussion.

So this could look something like a woman working with a very highly-trained recruitment agent in her local community. She's then trained prior to her departure in financial literacy. She understands fees and fee payment for her job. She understands the skills she needs to do her job. She's protected on her journey.

Her contract is clear and transparent. She understands it in her native language. She works in an electronics factory that has safe, inclusive, gender sensitive policies and practices.

She arrives and has safe transport and accommodation. She has upskilling opportunities and positive working relationships with her supervisor. Her wages are paid regularly, perhaps digitally. She's able to safely use remittance channels to send her money back to her country of origin.

Over time, perhaps she joins a worker committee, and if she has a grievance, she makes a claim, she trusts it will be handled properly and it is. Finally, she builds her savings through her employment and ultimately returns home safely. In short, she's migrating in that circle with dignity in a way that's fully aligned with the Dhaka Principles.

And yet we know that sadly, this is not often the case. So the goal of today's conversation is to talk about the roles, the academic community, civil society and private sector can play to enable that ideal scenario moving forward. So we want to start today with the academic foundation and what we know.

So I'll turn to Bonny, who will walk us through what we already know about migratory flows to Taiwan, some of the unique barriers that women face and the risks that electronics companies may face in the process. Then we'll open the conversation more with Pam and Maria, and we'll dive into some of the particularities of supply chain and women's roles in them. So over to you, Bonny, to walk us through a high-level overview of the Taiwanese context.

Thank you very much, Lauren, and welcome to everyone. Let's just say it's very hard to follow that true north ideal scenario that Lauren just painted out for us because that's not going to be the case here. And I have the challenge in the next eight minutes or so to kind of give you the context of the labor migration in Taiwan and to frame today's discussion of migrant worker woman in Taiwan's electronic sector, within Lauren's ideal scenario that we are all working towards.

So let me share my screen. It's an honor and a challenge to be here today with the other distinguished panelist, Maria from Cisco and Pam from Hewlett Packard Enterprise. I think my job here is to paint the scale and the numbers of the migration corridors to Taiwan and then hopefully take you to a place where we can tease out some of these details that Lauren just set out. Let's look at the migration corridors to Taiwan. It's fairly simple in that Taiwan only has four migration corridors.

The four countries of origin are: Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. Now, the total number of foreign migrant workers to Taiwan hoovers around 700,000. The number has decreased a bit because of border restrictions placed during COVID. And at the time of recording now, Taiwan still operates with border controls. It's looking to scale down.

But I think that has taken an effect on the total migration numbers. And as of July 2022,which is the latest that we have numbers for, we can see that number a little bit below 700,000. There are two sectors for migrant workers to Taiwan and it's productive industries and the other category known as social welfare which encompasses institutional domestic care.

Now, productive industry is a broad term that the government uses to denote various sectors of work, including: manufacturing, construction, agriculture, fishing and animal husbandry. And about 60-70% of the total migrant workers to Taiwan are in industry with about 200,000 in social welfare. Now, if we look specifically to each migration corridor that I've just mentioned, the two most dominant countries are: Indonesia and Viet Nam. Their number is around 240,000.

Philippines is about 150,000 and Thailand is the smallest, but almost exclusively in industry. Now, for Indonesia, about 70% of the migrant workers from Indonesia are placed in the welfare sector in Taiwan. Compare that to Viet Nam where close to 90% of migrant workers are placed in industry.

So I think what's interesting is that you have an aggregate number, and then when you dive into the various migration corridors, you can see some of these details. Now, if we're looking at industry, we're predominantly talking about Viet Nam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Now, let's look at this. If we look at the gender aspects of this labour migration, it's a very interesting picture. There's almost under parity in the total number of migrant workers to Taiwan, around 350 male migrant workers and around the same number for female. But if you look at the industries where they're placed, the social welfare sectors almost exclusively women at 99%, and only 30% of those placed in productive industries are women.

Now, if we look at it by the specific corridors of labour migration corridors, then it's even more nuanced. And this is the details that comes out in disaggregated data. If we look at Viet Nam, where migrate workers are placed in the industry, about 30% of them are female migrant workers, 60% of them are from the Philippines, and for Thailand, it's about 20%. So what this means is that when female migrant workers issues come up, most of the heavy focus is placed on domestic care. I have here some pictures of typical street scenes in Taiwan. And this is very common.

You see a female migrant worker usually from Indonesia taking care of the elderly in Taiwan. They're in parks, they're in the streets, they are gathering at the Taipei Main Station. So a lot of the attention on women's rights in the context of labour migration in Taiwan do focus on the domestic care sector. And this means that this section, the focus of today, or this panel discussion today, is a bit of a blind spot. Not much emphasis is placed on women working in the tech sector of Taiwan, the tech sector being the pride of Taiwan, the silicon semiconductor shield for Taiwan, so to speak.

I want to hear now quickly, kind of set up the context for my fellow panelists today from Cisco and Hewlett Packard. Now, I have here a picture of friends and family grieving. The woman in the coffin her name was Desiree Castro Pabo-Gretzky, and she was a Filipino migrant worker who was Inned on working in a LED component factory in Taiwan, XinTec, one of the largest in Taiwan, quite well known. And she was about a month away from finishing her contract before returning to the Philippines. At work, August 2019, she spilled some hydrofluoric acid onto her upper legs and she was taken to hospital, but at the hospital she passed away.

Now, this factory was located in Miaoli and subsequent investigations revealed a lot of things. First, the working conditions weren't safe and then production resumed fairly fast afterwards, it resumed and there was a culture of negligence at the factory. There was no proper training, no proper PPE at the factory.

The workers whose spoke anonymously to the reporter who carried out a detailed reporting afterwards said that the Taiwanese workers did not have to do the same tasks. That this very dangerous task upholding the wafers in hydrofluoric acid was only given to the foreign migrant workers. So I think a lot of details came out. And I think for our discussion today, we used to think about the ILO's,

five fundamental principles and rights at work and to use it as a frame. First we have the issue of child labour, the prohibition of child labour, and then we have the topic of elimination of forced labour, and that's the theme of the global forum on changing the recruitment system, which now forces the migrant workers themselves to pay recruitment fees, recruitment-related costs and also illegal and disclosed costs. We need to also look at eliminations of discrimination.

Things like reproductive rights, right to a family life. And as the case of Desiree mentioned, we need to look at safe and healthy working environments and also freedom of association and collective bargaining. Now, what is really interesting is that I came across this recruitment ad.

This was done by a Filipino labour agency. It's not the same that arranged the labour migration contract for Desiree, but when I first looked at it, I saw it with a different lens, which was the fact that this labour agency emphasized things like no fees collected, at the bottom right and beware of the legal recruiters. So it has this facade of being responsible. But then if you look at some of the things that it wanted in its female migrant workers, it said things like an ideal built, you cannot be left handed, you cannot be near sighted and then no sweaty hands.

Now, when I first saw this, this detail escape me until later I correlated it with Desiree's accident. The thing is she dropped the fluid, hydrofluoric fluid, which built onto her legs. And that process of holding the wafers is done by hand.

So I thought, wow, this was actually a risk management strategy. This cannot be. That this idea of occupational health and safety, we see it so clearly at the beginning of a woman's migration journey, taking it to the very end of the case I just talked about. Now, what about Taiwan? Now we know all about the challenges of recruitment fees and recruitment related costs, but Taiwan has an extra hurdle in its move towards responsible recritment and that on top of everything, Taiwan collects monthly service fees directly from the migrant workers. So I have here a picture of the monthly service fees. It's 1,500.

It's about 50-60 US dollars that's directly deducted from a worker's wage. And if you want to read about it, we actually at HRV did a submission to the US State Department Trafficking in Persons Report, that speaks about this in more detail about why this is a hurdle to responsible recruitment. It's in the law.

It's legal. So we also need to look at changing the law, changing the legislative framework that has normalized this way of recruitment in Taiwan. Now, this is my conductment slide. Let me just say that the issue of women's rights and labour migration is very much a life issue in Taiwan at the moment. The texts over there in Chinese is the, this just came out in May of this year from our main oversight body of the government that talks about women's reproductive rights in the migration corridors to Taiwan.

And it actually said the Ministry of Labor needs to take robust, corrective measures to make sure that their right, women's right to reproductive health, is not violated. This is in the context of a very vibrant and broad discussion about what this will look like in the future. Now, a lot of things for us to throb deeper in the subsequent discussions, but here, I'll leave you with the last picture. This is a service counter at the Main International Airports in Taiwan.

For a lot of the foreign workers, the seven hundred thousands arriving in Taiwan, this will be their first port of call with the local authorities. So here I leave you for the discussion. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Bonny.

It was incredibly helpful context, I think to orient those of you in this virtual room with us today. I wanted to and we'll talk more about both the risk and opportunity that migrant women represent in factories. And to that end, I want to turn to Maria now, who will walk us through a little bit around how supply chains are structured at a high level. So Maria, could you please walk us through a little bit around how supply chains are structured at tiers one, two, and three and the limitations to transparency in standard approaches. I just want to set the scene for those in the room today who might have varying levels of understanding of just the 101 that a migrant woman is now entering as she comes into Taiwan. So a question to maybe be around structure and also around how organizations like the OECD and United Nations Guiding Principles are engaging here.

Yeah, sure. Thank you for those opening comments Bonny. That was really wonderful material and insight. First of all, let me just explain what Cisco is.

Cisco is one of those companies that everybody's information is on, but not everyone's heard about. We make networking, cloud, and security solutions. So your information is traveling through our network somewhere at all times. And we believe that our technology is the power to transform lives, but we also believe that how that technology is made matters.

So just talk a little bit about what a supply chain looks like for a high-tech company. I'll talk about Cisco's, but it's pretty typical, I think, of most of our peer companies. So we have a small number of manufacturing partners who make our final product. Cisco has locations in Asia, North America, South America, and Europe, so those are the folks who bring all the materials together making the final product.

-We have hundreds of component suppliers globally with thousands of sites. Those are the suppliers but then we have some relationship, but there's hundreds and thousands of sites there. And then there's the sub tier, the suppliers that provide material to our component suppliers and that comes up into our supply chain.

There are multiple tiers. I think this is one thing that folks don't understand is how complex and multi tiered the supply chain is from the finished product all the way down to the raw material. What's also really interesting about the high tech industry is that it's really more of a web than a chain. People think of a chain as a very distinct set of steps. What's interesting in the high tech is that my supplier might also be my customer, by the way, Is also almost certainly supplying my peer or competitor and sometimes a suppliers in our tier one or tier two and our tier three. It's very complex.

And the reason I bring all this up is because it has to do with how companies address these issues and address these risks and how we take this approach. So, Lauren, you mentioned OECD and UNGP. So Cisco, like many of our peer companies, we structure our due diligence programs around OECD and UNGP. Let me stop using acronyms. The OECD due diligence guidance for responsible business conduct and the UN Guiding Principles.

Those are cornerstones of due diligence programs. So for us, when we're looking at suppliers, we say, okay, we have a policy. And going back to some of the things that Bonnie mentioned, there's definitely a no fees policy, but employer pays fees in our policy, the Responsible Business Alliance code of conduct, but it also covers things like health and safety protection for pregnant and nursing women, working conditions and much more.

So we have this policy, our suppliers acknowledge it in onboarding, it's incorporated in their contracts. We do self-assessment questionnaires on it, we do onsite audits. And if we find stuff that we don't think is in alignment with our policy, we work with them to address it. In Taiwan, what we're seeing for the reasons that Bonnie mentioned, is fees. Recruitment fees, both the ones that are paid monthly and also fees that are paid to recruiters for workers to come get a job that can end up being thousands of dollars for an individual worker and that's obviously a lot of money.

And then that becomes a forced labour or bonded labour risk because workers are working to pay off that money over time. it makes it harder for them to actually leave a job, which is one of those things that why we're addressing this risk. So when we do uncover with suppliers. And by the way, it's not everywhere. What we have done actually is we can't audit everybody, but we do assessments of every site where we know there are foreign migrant workers present to see what their practices are.

The majority are actually doing the right thing when we show up, but there are some that are not. We'll talk more about what that means in that context later. But then we do find that we work with the supplier to make sure they understand what their policies and procedures should be, that they get a full understanding of what the reimbursement should be to the workers and the workers are interviewed in that process, and the workers get the money back. You can imagine this is not always an easy or quick process.

This can take over a year sometimes in the worst case scenario. But I think what's interesting about this is the element of which when we take the approach that we see, which is factory site in, that's the approach that we take from a due diligence site perspective. Then you take the fact that we have really close contact with our tier one suppliers with some of our tier two, and the tier three, it gets really dissipated. What we're seeing now is, if you're following the UN Guiding Principles, you go where your leverage is the greatest. But what we're seeing now is that the risk is greatest in the tier three and beyond. Those small suppliers,

those sub tier suppliers that don't have as robust management systems, probably don't have as much exposure to the kinds of policies and procedures that multinationals and organizations like the ILO have put forward. That's where we're seeing the risk. And that's where the real value of collaboration, industry groups like the Responsible Business Alliance or the groups that you folks are part of. Because if we can start coming together with a single voice, making sure that multiple companies are making these requirements, making sure they're getting cascaded down the supply chain. There hasn't progress on that, but not enough. And then how do we get that single voice to address those issues more consistently and deeply in the supply chain where the specific risks are? -Thank you.

-What happens for everyone. -For all of us. I think that is the question is where is... Let's pick like private sector. All really is where is your leverage the greatest? And how does that match the biggest risk? Where we can dovetailing risk and leverage to make change on this topic? And so to that end, Pam, I will pivot to you. And I would love if you could comment on your experience in HPE.

And as we go a level deeper engender, what does good look like? What does good look like for HPE? And also how valuable do you think publicly facing statements are on this topic? So as corporate actors what value do you think that brings for collective action and ultimately impact in the space? -Thanks, Lauren and fellow panelists. Great content I can build on here And hello to everyone, welcome. So Hewlett Packard enterprise is a global edge to cloud platform as a service company.

So we sell hardware such as servers and supercomputers and we work with our customers across all industries to develop solutions. We, like Cisco, have a complex supply chain and as such, we regularly work together with cisco, with our suppliers, with peers, customers and others in the industry to address issues such as forced labour and related. It's a pleasure to join all of you and to return to the Global Forum on Responsible Recruitment. Last year, we shared HPE's overall approach to identifying, remedying and preventing forest labour. And today I'd like to share a little bit about how we're applying a vulnerable groups lens to much of our work, not just in the supply chain, but across the board, all of our work on human rights. Now, the UN GPS, the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights states that principles should be, and they say, implemented with particular attention to the rights and needs of, as well as the challenges faced by individuals from groups or populations that might be at heightened risk of becoming vulnerable or marginalized and with due regard to different risks that may be faced by women and men.

So as such, HPE, we've always grounded all of our human rights work in the UN GPS. And as of late, we've been considering how can we better assess and understand risks specific to certain vulnerable groups? And we've been proactively thinking about the groups laid out on this slide. And what, therefore, additional due diligence should we be carrying out to address these heightened risks? In doing so, we realize that we as an industry should really be looking not only at each vulnerable group, but rather overlapping vulnerabilities which result in even more heightened risk and require extra attention. This was a clear message we received during our consultation with various human rights defenders, experts and representatives in the drafting of our commitment to respect the rights of marginalized groups, which is available on our website.

We click through to the next slide. I'll share a bit more about that commitment. So this commitment published earlier this year states that we will prioritize risks that are widespread, severe or irreversible, by applying heightened due diligence. We acknowledge that certain populations may experience greater probability or more severe impact.

For example, especially in this discussion, migrant workers, female workers. We also, as shown on the previous slide, consider these impacts and crossover with other vulnerabilities. In our commitment, we describe the steps we have taken to protect and engage these groups and our plans to advance our work and how we think about these heightened vulnerabilities.

For example, we're advancing our approach, including an assessment of impacts on most vulnerable during our standard human rights impact assessments reviewing and better communicating channels for raising concerns and developing an internal method for when and how to identify civil society groups who can inform our human rights work and specific activities, of course, related to each category of a vulnerable group. If we click to the next slide, which is my penultimate, I just want to share a little bit of some recent data that we have been collecting and have published earlier this year in our annual CSR report called the living progress report. So this is in the interests of better understanding the nature and the scale of forced labour risk in a specific context such as risk to women in our supply chain. So we began collecting and publishing additional data, and this was just some of it. I wanted to share these ones, especially those that are circles, which I think is relevant to this discussion.

In addition to collecting data, such as, what's the size of workers that are touched by our programs? How many female workers exists there? How many female supervisors are in our supply chain? We're also trying to gather qualitative information about these risks, such as through engagement with workers and rights holder representatives so we can really understand what appropriate prevention, not just remedy might be there. As we have seen in the new ILO, IOM, walk free global estimates of modern slavery report, what they have found and publish is that women are more subjective to domestic forced labour situations. And the nature of their forced labour risk in production tends to be withheld wages and abuse of their vulnerabilities. So this is versus physical threats and fines for men. Slightly different in some cases, not all cases, of course.

And in addition, the report published that women are more likely than men to face physical and sexual violence and threats to family. So these are important considerations we're thinking about and how we can ensure supplier sites that produce goods for HPE are also working to address these issues. In our own supply chain data from 2021, you'll see women represent nearly half of workers in our supply chain. Foreign migrant workers only represent approximately two%, but we have done a lot of work in this space, including publishing the industry's first migrant workers standard and doing specialized assessments to look specifically for these risks of forced labour.

I think it's worth even though it's a small subset, this is a group that we've identified as being vulnerable for some time, and some of our work in this marginalized group commitment is really to build off what we've done with migrant workers in the past. Very quickly, one final slide. Just want to think about, so what can companies do, Lauren? And what should we be thinking about? What does good look like beyond? I think a commitment is a good first step and certainly should not stop there.

Most companies who would put out a commitment I hope, and certainly is the case with us, have already done quite a bit of ground work, have had formal commitments already in place and are thinking about how to advance their work there. So we're now exploring how can we work with HPE suppliers and our peers to advance female vocational support? So how do we promote women and help create that culture of female leaders, not just here in our company, but in our supply chain and in the factory walls as well? And we're coupling that with working with suppliers to enforce zero tolerance of harassment and discrimination, rolling out worker rights training across our supply chain, which we're very excited about. And I think there's opportunity to have a component of a gender lens there.

And promoting and building strong, effective channels for all workers, including for women to raise concerns in a safe and trusted space. In addition, we're talking with peers and local training providers for understanding our options for predeparture training and ways that we can foster that ideal scenario that Lauren very well articulated early on in a session. Thanks so much, Lauren, I'll stop there and pass back to you. -Thank you, Pam.

Just what helpful context, and I would encourage all to have a look at that IOM report that Pam mentioned for the latest that has come out in this space as of this month. And thank you for sharing your data, Pam, on what HPE is collecting. And it leads to a question I have for both Maria and both of you and Pam around, what does the term gender lens mean for you both in your organizations as you are working more at the intersection of responsible recruitment and gender? I'd love to talk a little bit about what concretely that's meaning for you broadly in your work? What does it mean for you in Taiwan? Then the third question, if I can, at the outset, to ask a little bit around the complexities of data collection, particularly among fees or recruitment fees. And so do you have any segregated data on recruitment fees and what are the challenges you're facing there? So we have a question around what does gender lens mean for you? What does it mean in Taiwan? And some complexities around recruitment fees? Maybe we'll first start with the gender lens and what it means for you and in Taiwan. Maybe you can start with you, Maria. -Sure. For us, the gender lens, I think Pam said bit of well.

I think we're looking at the intersectionalities of what are the vulnerable groups and how do they intersect? For women, we do have a broad focus on four migrant workers in Taiwan because of the known concerns there. And then women are an additional lens o n top of that. I think, as already mentioned by Bonnie and Pam, there are specific risks that women do face. So we look for those and those are assessed for in adults and other assessments.

I think the piece for us really, again, is how do we bring in the rights holder perspective, which has already been mentioned? How do we actually understand what this looks like for people on the ground there? I think what's interesting too is also the element of people playing to their strengths and where they are. And by that, I mean, corporations, NGOs, academia, rights holder groups, our human rights defenders, et cetera. How do we put those pieces together? Because we're going to come in as a corporation with a certain amount of leverage because we spend money.

We got to make sure we use that leverage to drive the right activity on all of these issues. At the same time, we also have limitations. We don't employ the workers directly. We don't have actual control over the facility. It's also easier for things to slip through the cracks.

So that's where we need to be partnering with other organizations who do the rights holders, the regrettable proxies, the academia that are to put these different pieces of the puzzle. Because as mentioned, these different rings. We have insight and access to the factory. We don't, in the course of our daily business have access and insight to the migration corridors.

How do we actually pull those pieces together and work with organizations to get their perspective and help in collaboration for going back to the sending country or at the end the returning country? And I think another piece of this too is prevention, which I think one or both of the panelists have already mentioned. This is a big thing for me, because the questions, we've got the corridors now, we've got a lot of good data on who's coming into Taiwan now? Where are they coming from? What is the gender? What's happening with this recruitment? I think the things that we need to be thinking about are what are the migration quarters of the future, particularly at a time of huge turbulence in global supply chains, geopolitics and economy. These migration quarters are not going to stay the same for very long, in my opinion. So how do we get ahead of the next one? And understand the issues underlying gender, certainly, and other issues that might be, how do we get to and prevent those proactively, and how do we do that collectively, which is why I love these kinds of conversation.

-Think you, Maria. Pam, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what a gender lens means to you and in Taiwan and potentially any challenges you faced with the data you presented and also what it would take to collect more on recruitment fees by such. Yeah, great question.

And a plus one to everything Maria said. I think that's a shared view, actually, that we have. For us, we think a gender lens means being thoughtful and intentional. So thoughtful about how we identify vulnerabilities and are considering heightened impact on women and intentional about how do we proactively build this into some of our regular tools and the way that we work and proactively go out and listen to women and talk to women to understand context.

I think in the case of modern slavery and including in Taiwan, we need to do what was called out in this new ILO, IOM free report, which is understand better the context and how modern slavery manifests in different ways. So what are the specific risks to female migrants coming into Taiwan? What's their experience as they settle in in living locally and in working in these factories? I already shared a little bit on the data side of what we started collecting. And I think that's is the start of what we're doing. And there's, of course, more data that we collect and use internally. We have roughly 46.5% women in our supply chain in primarily tier one and two. This is figure is four and so far it appears that our data on Taiwan is pretty reflective of these percentages as well.

Unfortunately, a historic data in terms of fees specifically, does not always contain gender. So I think maybe there's an opportunity to start collecting that going forward with any suppliers that do enter into our reimbursement program that we have some very robust tools that we use there. And I think there's an opportunity to integrate gender there and also to collect more, not just the data, but the qualitative info to really understand what these women's experiences. In terms of challenges on those data, I think there are a few.

When you think of a case where you find recruitment fees that workers are paying in your supply chain, as Maria pointed out, it's quite complex, it's not always tier one, sometimes it's tier two or lower. And it's usually not those factories themselves in most cases that are collecting the fees, but rather the recruitment agent. So you're really digging deeper into this very complex web and so collecting all of this information and having, I guess, trust in that data can be a challenge. In terms of the practicalities of our reimbursement program, we really do. We've lately focused on making sure our tools are there to help our suppliers focus on what really matters, which is worker well-being and voice during the whole process.

Quick reimbursement and in various other factors. But I think the speed factor really comes into play here with what data do we need to collect and what will take a few extra days for suppliers and recruitment agents to collect for us? It really is critical to bring restitution to workers and to reimburse as quickly as possible while they're still working in a factory. There are some challenges, not to say that we shouldn't do this.

But challenges to navigate as we apply a gender lens here. Couldn't agree more. I know we have about… We've about 10 minutes left during our time together today, and I wanted to spend a bit on action.

Both Maria and Pam, they both mentioned already kind of where… Where we can start, whether that's through recruitment agents, and getting more proximate along the supply chain among the tiers. Again, to really understand better the precise risk to that we face and the women face and the intersectional vulnerability that we see there, as well as getting very clear on the leverage that you both as private sector actors have. I'd like to turn to you a little bit, Maria and Pam, to talk about collective action. As we think about… because it can only be done in collaboration, as we've discussed. As we think particularly around civil society, government, it's a broad question, but civil society, government, and private sector, where would you like to see more coming together? For a collective moonshot, let's say. Where would you like to see more action in collaboration? Maybe it's through data.

Maybe it's through other avenues. Just love your thoughts on where you'd like to start more? Doesn't have to be a moonshot quite yet, but where's those next few steps that you think we can take as a community? I think there's a few… I'll go ahead and go first. I think… as a community in the private sector, I think one of the things we have to do is educate our own teams. One of the things that we make a mistake on in these panels sometimes is we talk about all the work we're doing outside, we don't talk about the work we're doing in our own company.

You got to educate your own people. They have to understand if they're moving aside to Taiwan or other places high risk for forced labour, what are the questions that they have to ask, and what are the roles that they're playing if they're looking for reduced costs, right? They need to understand that. I think if all companies are not doing that, they need to be doing that themselves. But in terms of collaboration across, I think there's also the question of education and engagement.

I'm sure Pam would agree. When you find things like this, the vast majority of folks were... There's a situation where people are being charged recruitment fees. I think harassment and bad health and safety is a little bit different. What's interesting in Taiwan is because of the legality of it, I think people don't understand they're doing something wrong most of the time.

I think being able to... There's been situations where we had a supplier who coming in for the first time. We're like, "you know you can't came do that" said, "Oh, actually, that makes a lot of sense.

You're right, we shouldn't be charging… we should be paying for these fees." Then they just change their practice. It was good. Now, that doesn't happen every time so smoothly, but it happens. I think we're thinking about, how do we talk about this? I think it's important not to vilify people. I'm not saying there aren't bad actors out there, there most certainly are. But again, I think if we're trying to paint people as bad actors or shame… I think that's not helpful.

How do we collectively raise this issue? Point out the disparity between what the practice is and what the international standards are and what the benefits are to people for responsible recruitment practices, literally gives you access to markets. But I think that's the piece... Again, this is sort of the ring, the perspective that we come in old school industry. I think we can talk a lot more about how do we do share that data. How do we actually look proactively, what's coming down the line and some of the things I've already touched on.

Let me turn it over to Pam I think I've said enough. Pam can talk about the other aspects as well. Right, thank you.

Yeah. This is good. We make a good team here. In terms of what's needed. Gosh, there's just so much.

But I think I overall, we need to better engage workers themselves. We need to better understand and publish data in the context around some of these risks and we need to improve legal protections and remedy. In terms of engaging with workers, we need to also support them through their journey to this ideal journey. This is really what we're all working towards, Lauren what you laid out. We need to build this awareness for workers before they're even workers, before they're even being recruited to really establish a new norm, which really includes transforming the recruitment industry as a whole globally. Also, we need to build upon the findings in this most recent report that I've mentioned to better quantify and qualifying and texturalize these risks, especially to female workers.

Governments have a responsibility, of course, to protect worker's rights. That including the safety of female migrants and laws and social securities that support them. I think collectively, we need to think about both industry and government. How do we ensure access to effective channels for raising grievances and give access to remedy for individuals, migrants, not as a second-tier resident in a country but as someone who is with dignity and respected throughout. Great. Thank you, Pam and Maria.

I wanted to turn to you, Bonny, again. Excuse me. To round us out as we look at the ideal scenario that was painted, like the core realities that are at play. And also to the Taiwanese context, we have a female president, and we see strong female leadership in the public sector and even Pam, as you presented your female supervisors in factory data, I think is around 10% from the data you presented. The question is, how do we get more female leadership in the private sector? What's the disconnect there? The story for a much longer panel together. But, Bonny, your thoughts on the intersections, and maybe the gaps between the public sector female leadership we're seeing and how we can better translate that into the factory context in Taiwan.

Okay, so basically, we go back to your ideal scenario in the moonshot that was given to Maria and Pam. For me to sum up. Well, I think let me go back to the idea of blinds spots and the benefits of such a discussion today.

We have people from industry, NGO and academia talking here today. I think we need more of this. We need more honesty in this space where we kind of we look at the data and identify where the blind spots are, so that we know where we can look. I talked earlier about how most of the tension for the discussion on micro-working women focus on domestic care. Right? Because there 99% in Taiwan almost exclusively on women. Well, we just identified in this panel today that we don't know enough or we need to know more about what's happening in the tech industry for the women working there.

I just want to say that, yes, Taiwan has a female president. Taiwan's legislature is I think, more than 40% female legislators. But this is not seen in the private sector.

The opposite picture in the private sector, especially if we look at senior corporate leadership. There was a study that was out last year saying that less than 14% of public listed companies in Taiwan are lead by women. Right.

That number decreases, 8% of women workers decide to leave after parental leave. Some numbers here based on surveys, 30% said that they have been, victims of verbal sexual harassment, close to 20%, victim of physical sexual harassment, and many of them said that they don't report. They feel like there's no meaningful way of self-protection. So why report? Already that's a blind spot that in the data that's collected it's very likely to be underreported. One of my slides talked about data that was… The report that was done by the control body, the oversight body of the government. They came out with the report on sexual harassment and sexual assault.

They disaggregated the data depending on the sector of employment, which is good. Disaggregated data is good because it shows the nuances, but only 10% comes from factory setting. I think for me, that already shows one of the blind spots is that the data collection is incomplete. How can we get that number up? I think discussions like these are helpful. A lot of the academics their focus on domestic care because that's the most easily accessible. Some of the factories are remote.

Workers have regimented days, which means it's hard to arrange worker interviews for the purpose of research. But I think, this is just our first discussion. We need to keep on talking more and find these spaces where we can put our brains together and find the levers for change. Thank you, Bonny.

In summary, as I think and reflect on this conversation today, I think we heard a lot of commonalities around, I love this framing Bonny of blind spot, and how that affects both the risk and the opportunity that stronger gendered approaches to women migrants present. And so how do we uncover more of the lived experience at tier one, tier two, tier three with more qualitative and quantitative rigor? How do we find out more about the overlapping vulnerabilities that you talked about, Pam. Women migrant, ethnic minority vulnerabilities and really understand the texture of their lived realities more. How do we find out more about the migration corridors of the future, Maria? Great point. Then that lived reality of women who will be migrating. In and among them.

Then where do we start? Is it at the recruitment agent level, training, training them, training our own companies? Engaging more with government, lots of open questions here. What we do know is increasingly what we don't know. And that is we have these blind spots that we're starting to see again, ILO, IOM data that has just come out, which is a helpful foundation, but we need more, and we need more sex-disaggregated data and an insight into the lived reality of women migrants in the electronic sectors, especially as tech companies.

Endeavor more into the space and publish like the data you shared, Pam. The very valuable data are the realities in their supply chain and in their corporate walls as well. As well as unintended consequences. I don't think there's enough research there yet on illegal actors on protectionist policies that might actually benefit women in their journey. I don't think we have enough nuance around that. Frankly, the percentage of fees paid by women.

There's a lot still more to learn around our blind spots about unintended consequences. But this panel makes me hopeful that we will make progress in the right direction. I want to thank you, Bonny, Maria, and Pam, for your time today and also the IHRB generally for hosting this discussion. Thank you all very much.

Thank you. Thank you. Amen to all that.

Thank you.

2022-11-07 17:17

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