GFEMS provides seed funding for ethical businesses to grow their market share, shifting demand away from exploitative recruitment to more ethical practices. Working with Seefar, we have created TERA (The Ethical Recruitment Agency), India’s first ethical recruitment agency.
TERA aims to reduce forced labor by pioneering research, making a business case on profitability of ethical recruitment, and piloting an ethical recruitment agency. Based in in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India, the pilot agency offers exploitation-free work opportunities to vulnerable communities. To date, Seefar has signed contracts with several large employers, published a guide for profitable ethical recruitment, and stress tested pre-departure trainings and worker welfare protocols.
Seefar is identifying large gaps in existing research including lack of:
- A consensus on the definition and theory of ethical recruitment
- Quantifiable impact
- Understanding around unintended consequence.
Seefar’s research focuses on the effectiveness of ethical recruitment in reducing forced labor and the economic, social, physical, and mental effects of ethical recruitment on workers and their families. Preliminary findings from key informant interviews and case studies show overwhelming positive effects on workers and their families in the following dimensions: economic, social, physical and mental health, and human rights. Specifically, there is a direct relationship between lower recruitment fees, lower debt, and higher remittances to families and communities. Ethical recruitment can help migrant workers achieve upward social mobility in the long term and enhance their social status in their communities. Better customer service offered by ethical recruitment is a reliever of stress and concern at the individual and family levels. It also has important implications on mortality and morbidity of migrant workers abroad. Finally, ethical recruitment enhances knowledge of workers’ rights and safeguards those rights during, and often after, recruitment.
Seefar will continue The Ethical Recruitment Agency and accompanying research and offer evidence based and practical research to donors, governments, commercial actors and civil society members.
This project, and others in our portfolio like it, are working to show that ethical recruitment practices are better for everyone, including recruiters themselves. This shifts market demand for ethical recruitment agencies and ensures the long-term sustainability of ethical recruitment solutions.