The Challenge

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), approximately 21 million people worldwide are working in situations of forced labor. Exploited through force, fraud, debt bondage or other coercion, workers in many industries and many regions throughout the world are vulnerable to the conditions that contribute to forced labor. Some foreign migrant workers are subject to high recruitment fees, personal debt, complicated recruitment practices, a lack of transparency about their eventual working conditions, and inadequate legal protections in the countries in which they work. Companies have a moral imperative to act, and financial incentives to do so because of the risks to their operations, reputations and, in some cases, sales if forced labor exists in their supply chains. Awareness of these issues among companies across industries is at an all-time high, thanks to increased scrutiny and pressure from government regulators, nongovernmental organizations, customers, institutional investors and media. Guiding principles on forced labor are well-established, however, solutions tend to be fragmented across industries and geographies and only address certain aspects or specific points in a worker’s journey. Despite the fact that multiple industries share recruitment actors and corridors, solutions are often implemented in parallel rather than working in conjunction with one another.

The Responsible Labor Initiative

The RBA has been at the forefront of combating forced labor through the application of advanced due diligence standards, tools and programs in the global supply chain of its members. However, we believe that in order to accelerate change, this due diligence must be harmonized across multiple industries that share recruitment supply chains to drive labor market transformation through collective action. To catalyze this, the RBA is launching the Responsible Labor Initiative (RLI), a multi-industry, multi-stakeholder initiative focused on ensuring that the rights of workers vulnerable to forced labor in global supply chains are consistently respected and promoted. RLI solutions are based on leading EICC standards, programs and partnerships that will be extended to other industries through membership in the RLI and will work in conjunction with complementary solutions to better address these issues.

Benefits of Membership

Whether your company is a leader in implementing forced labor due diligence or just getting started, there are many benefits to joining the RLI. Membership provides the opportunity to help steer the mission and vision of the initiative, while coordinating a harmonized, cross-industry approach to address the root cause of forced labor. In addition, specific services and tools are provided to members to assist in establishing company-level due diligence programs, including:
  • Sensing, Advocacy and Communications Services
  • World-Class Standards and Compliance Checklists
  • Supply Chain Risk Assessments
  • Self-Assessments and Audits for Factories and Labor Agents
  • Factory Capacity Building, Supported by a Third-Party Helpline
  • Labor Agency Development and an “On-Ramp” to Certification Systems
  • Recruitment Corridor Data and Research


RLI Membership is also open to RBA non-member companies which support the objectives of the RLI and whose primary objective of joining the initiative is the implementation of forced labor due diligence in their supply chain.  Such may become RLI Members, upon completion of the registration process, as Partner Members.


The rights and dignity of workers vulnerable to forced labor in global supply chains are consistently respected and promoted through responsible recruitment and employment practices


Members, suppliers, recruitment partners and stakeholders use their collective influence and application of due diligence to drive the transformation of recruitment markets and reduce the risk of forced labor in global supply chains

What People are Saying About the Initiative

“Addressing the risks vulnerable workers face in the recruitment process requires collective action. The Responsible Labor Initiative creates a necessary forum for companies to work together across sectors and act collectively.”
Managing Director, Humanity United
“ICCR supports the vision of the RLI, which places the rights and dignity of workers vulnerable to forced labor in global supply chains at the center of the initiative through transforming recruitment and employment practices on the ground.”
Senior Program Director, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
“Apple is proud to be a founding member of the Responsible Labor Initiative. We look forward to working with dedicated leaders to safeguard human rights throughout our global supply chains”
Senior Director, Supplier Responsibility, Apple Inc.