Human trafficking

Mobilising business against human trafficking
Manpower Inc.
Employment services
Worldwide network of 4,100 offices in 82 countries and territories
Listed (NYSE)
No. of employees:


Manpower is a US$22 billion company which offers employers a range of services including permanent, temporary and contract recruitment; employee assessment and selection; training; outplacement; outsourcing and consulting. It is listed on the FTSE4Good Global Index Series.

Further information:

Dilemma: Fighting against a global criminal phenomenon

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, which forces an estimated 12.3 million people into forced labour or sexual servitude at any given time. It is believed to be the third largest illegal industry after arms and drug smuggling. As a result it is present in every country and territory in Manpower's extensive network and has the potential to impact upon the company's legitimate core business activities.

Good practice: The Athens Ethical Principles and corporate advocacy

Manpower has engaged in the End Human Trafficking Now!1 campaign, and is also the first company to sign the Athens Ethical Principles2. These require companies to:

  • Explicitly demonstrate a position of zero tolerance towards human trafficking
  • Contribute to the prevention of human trafficking including awareness-raising and education
  • Develop a corporate strategy for an anti-trafficking policy
  • Ensure personnel fully comply with their anti-trafficking policy
  • Encourage business partners, including suppliers, to apply ethical principles against human trafficking
  • Call on governments to review laws and regulations relating to the enhancement of anti-trafficking policies
  • Report and share information on best practices

Manpower's “zero tolerance” policy for working with any entity, which benefits in any way, from human trafficking includes its clients, vendors and business partners.

In late 2006, David Arkless, President - Corporate and Government Affairs, sent a personal letter to the CEOs and chairmen of the 1,000 largest world corporations inviting them to endorse the Athens Ethical Principles. He also took part in a prolonged media campaign, attending major events and conferences and constantly working with the press and appearing on television, to push for stronger engagement of the business community against all forms of human trafficking, including forced labour. In September 2009, Mr. Arkless also led a working group on ending human trafficking at the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. The working group - with representation from government, business, academia and civil society - was aimed at identifying practical solutions for partnerships between different sectors to end human trafficking and forced labour.

Results: Achieving support from 12,000 organisations and driving internal best practice

When contacted by letter in 2006, a number of companies were reluctant to take a public stance on the issue. Nonetheless, Manpower's effort to engage more companies in support of the Athens Ethical Principles has since resulted in more than 12,000 organisations signing up directly or through industry federations. A number of global unions have also lent their support.

Manpower itself plays a positive role in fighting human trafficking - including trafficking related to forced labour - by providing legitimate work opportunities, applying relevant standards and regulations, and by launching employment programs in partnership with a number of governments. Manpower also provides employment training to victims of human trafficking as part of its broader effort to partner with NGOs who support victims. The company is also working to help people find safe work at home and abroad - including help in recognising illegal recruiters, understanding the risks involved and offering alternative solutions.