UK online fashion retailer ASOS has hosted a multi-stakeholder event to drive collaborative approaches to protect workers and promote safe migration of workers to Mauritius.

Asos hosted the event yesterday (9 February) in partnership with Anti-Slavery International and local trade union the Confederation des Travailleurs des Secteurs Publique et Privé (CTSP) following the formal opening of the Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) earlier this week.

The Centre opened in 2020 but the formal opening was postponed due to Covid-19. It was created as part of an innovative project funded by the Modern Slavery Innovation Fund of the UK Home Office. Since its inception, the MRC has been working to support migrant workers, including by facilitating independent access to remedy. As part of its ongoing work, over the past months, the MRC has also been collaborating with International Organization for Migration (IOM) for the development of Standard Operating Procedures on human trafficking. 

The MRC also works to strengthen interaction with the national government, primarily the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations, Employment and Training.

“We’re incredibly proud to stand with our critical friend Anti-Slavery International, as well as the team at CTSP and migrant workers in Mauritius to officially open the Migrant Resource Centre. Since the Centre was established over two years ago it has helped migrant workers on the ground in Mauritius better understand and realise their fundamental human rights and has been instrumental in directly resolving grievances and holding employers to account,” says Simon Platts, responsible sourcing director at Asos.

Siobhan Mahoney, senior programme advisor at Anti-Slavery International, adds: “It has been an incredible opportunity to work and partner with CTSP and the Migrant Resource Centre, who have continuously demonstrated a strong commitment to support migrant workers’ ability to enjoy their labour rights.  We are excited to launch the Just Good Work App for Mauritius, which we have developed thanks to Asos’ generous funding and with invaluable inputs from all project partners, CTSP, OKUP in Bangladesh and ECFORME in Madagascar.” 

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The event marks Asos and Anti-Slavery International’s second in the country, following a previous multi-stakeholder event held with the British High Commission in Mauritius as part of long-running efforts to support and empower migrant workers. Since then, the MRC has opened and now plays a crucial role in ensuring that Asos, its suppliers, and other brands can identify and monitor human rights risks across the supply chain, a key part of its responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and its Global Framework Agreement by strengthening its approach to freedom of association.

Last year, Asos announced the release of new funding for Anti-Slavery International to support the MRC, contributing to the running of the centre and supporting Anti-Slavery International in continuing to provide technical advice, monitoring and learning support to the MRC’s staff.

Meanwhile, Asos announced last month that it has agreed a new three-year partnership with Anti-Slavery International to 2025, to support the delivery of its Fashion with Integrity programme. Under the new agreement, Anti-Slavery International will advise Asos on the development of the next phase of its modern slavery strategy. This will form a core part of its forthcoming human rights strategy, due to be announced by the end of next year.