Preventing underage labour in Cambodia

Client Problem

In June 2011, an ILO auditor found that a factory in Cambodia, Blossom Knits* was employing two under-age workers, aged 14 and 15. In this case, it appeared that the two underage workers were recruited after presenting ‘real fake IDs’ - genuine ID cards issued by government authorities but contain doctored or falsified information.  The factory had accepted these IDs without investigating their authenticity and when the auditor found this out, several US buyers had stopped and recalled millions of dollars of orders placed at the factory.


What We Did

The factory contacted GreenGrade for advice, which led to a complete overhaul of its recruitment process. As a first step, a series of non-invasive checks to establish the key facts per candidate was implemented, including rigorous and detailed interviews of each applicant, cross-checking of family details, educational background and former employment history, if applicable. Where possible, the information provided by applicant is corroborated by an existing factory worker from the same town or village. After the interview, personal documents are checked in the presence of the applicant, while paying attention to his/her body language. If the applicant looks young, he or she is referred for another interview by a senior HR manager. After each recruitment wave, HR staff members were asked to visit the factory floors on a weekly basis to conduct additional visual inspections.


What We Achieved

Following our visit, no more incidents of this kind were recorded at the factory and buyers reinstated orders at the factory the following year.

*= name changed to protect their identity.