7. Taking Corrective Action & Developing Systems Improvement

Many companies have the means and mechanisms to respond and react to non-conformance issues surfaced during social audits, but they may not be well-positioned to anticipate and avoid these problems in the first place, or to prevent them from happening again. Taking a reactive approach to problems can be more costly in the long run, and facility audits have shown that social responsibility problems tend to persist when remedial or corrective actions are either poorly maintained or are not implemented at all.

Developing a systems improvement plan that includes corrective and preventive measures helps a company to take both effective action against and proactively prevent practices that can lead to trafficking or forced labor for migrant workers.

A corrective action plan to address the trafficking or forced labor of a migrant worker must provide for the full protection of victim(s), and should include measures to support their rehabilitation, repatriation (if desired) or reintegration into the labor market and community. Public and non-governmental victim service providers with expertise in supporting migrant workers should be consulted as valuable resources to better understand the issue and address its root cause.

In general, a systems improvement plan must:

  • Detail the company’s specific responses to the issues (ensuring at all times that vulnerable workers are protected, that contingencies are in place to respond to issues where they happen)
  • Address the root causes of the issues, including the policies and practices that contributed to the problem
  • Map out the risks and their sources – the particular business processes, operational functions, or structural gaps from which the risks arise
  • Feed results into a management systems improvement plan.

The tools to the right offer more guidance on corrective action and systems improvement planning, where the trafficking or forced labor of migrant workers is concerned.