去（2016）年九月，英國媒體 《衛報》（The Guardian）調查發現，松下及三星電子廠曾剝削旗下勞工，勞工在工資上亦受欺瞞。
國際特赦組織（Amnesty International）的移民權益研究員薛伍（Angela Sherwood），對（松下及三星）頒布遏止施虐的政策表示歡迎，但質疑政策落實的成果。
商業暨人權資源中心（Business and Human Rights Resource Centre）東南亞研究員哥達（Golda Benjamin）亦呼籲企業提供員工更強的保護措施。「電子廠應與其供應商合作，一同保護旗下員工才是上策」，哥達表示。
在杜絕強迫勞動方面，荷蘭半導體大廠恩智浦（NXP）因其創造零剝削的生產鏈而於去年贏得「終止奴役獎（Stop Slavery Award）」。
Alleged labour abuses: Panasonic and Samsung reforms fall short, say activists
Labour rights groups have cast doubt on the impact and scope of proposals by Panasonic and Samsung to address the alleged abuse of foreign migrants in their supply chains in Malaysia.
Last November, a Guardian investigation highlighted claims that workers making goods for the global electronics brands were being exploited and had been deceived about pay. Both firms have since taken steps to reform their treatment of overseas migrant employees.
Panasonic has organised a series of human rights seminars for its suppliers and established a confidential whistleblowers’ hotline to report alleged abuse, while Samsung has issued fresh guidelines to its suppliers, imposing bans on recruitment fees and the retention of workers’ passports.
Angela Sherwood, a migrants’ rights researcher at Amnesty International, welcomed the introduction of policies intended to prevent abuse, but raised questions about their implementation and enforcement.
“Is the whole business invested in stopping abuse?” said Sherwood. “Do they act decisively to deal with suppliers who exploit workers? How do they protect and support exploited workers in their supply chains?”
Golda Benjamin, south-east Asia researcher for the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, also urged the need for stronger safeguards. “The best brands engage with suppliers and work together to protect the people who make their products,” she said.
Panasonic said an investigation of its supply chain had identified 15 companies where workers were at potential risk of abuse. But Laurent Abadie, the CEO of Panasonic Europe, emphasised the intricate nature of the inquiry, pointing out that there may be thousands of subcontracted companies behind Panasonic’s 589 direct suppliers in Malaysia.
“It’s a complex and difficult issue to tackle because of the number of suppliers,” said Abadie.
“It’s not all fine yet, but we are making progress. I think there is a general commitment. It is very complex. It’s a matter of education, awareness and persistence.”
However, Abadie appeared unaware of Panasonic’s position on several issues seen as central to protecting migrant workers’ rights, including the repayment of recruitment fees, the return of confiscated passports and workers’ freedom to return to their home countries.
Panasonic later stated that its policies forbade suppliers from collecting recruitment fees or confiscating passports from foreign workers.
Samsung terminated its contract with the labour supply company identified in the Guardian report, but refused to answer questions about whether the workers employed through that firm had received compensation.
“Terminating a contract … might create the appearance that the problem is fixed,” said Benjamin, “but this can devastate the families and communities that rely on income from these factory jobs.”
Nepalese workers employed in the Panasonic and Samsung supply chains said last year that they had been duped about their work and salaries, had their passports confiscated and were deeply in debt after paying recruitment agents up to £1,000 for their jobs.
Tens of thousands of foreign migrant workers are employed in Malaysia’s electronics sector, often through a complex chain of recruitment agents and sub-agents. High recruitment fees leave many workers vulnerable to debt bondage and forced labour.
Efforts are under way to reduce the risk of forced labour in their supply chains, not least at NXP Semiconductors, a Dutch electronics manufacturer that won a stop slavery award in 2016 for its work to create a supply chain free of exploitation. The firm was recognised for policies designed to make anti-slavery “everyone’s business in the company”.
NXP’s board of directors and CEO sign off all human trafficking policies, and the company interviews foreign migrant workers before they depart to check whether they have paid recruitment fees.
If money has been paid, it is refunded, and recruitment agents in the country of origin are audited.
“This is not a name-and-shame procedure,” said Eric-Paul Schat, NXP’s director of sustainability. “Rather, it is an effort to start cleaning up the supply chain by training and guiding our suppliers to ethical and humane treatment of workers.”