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Forced labour in Malaysian medical glove industry worsens

1 July 2021

Project team: Professor Mahmood Bhutta, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. Dr Mei Trueba, Brighton and Sussex Medical School. Dr Alex Trautrims, University of Nottingham. Rosey Hurst, Ben Bostock and Emily Day, Impactt Limited

A research team from Newcastle University, in collaboration with the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS TrustBrighton and Sussex Medical School and Impactt Limited, a labour rights consultancy, explored the impact of Covid-19 on modern slavery in Malaysian medical gloves supply chains.

The research considered the structures and processes affecting workers in the sector during the pandemic. It looked at all tiers of the supply chain, both in Malaysia and the UK, including workers, factory managers, suppliers, purchasers and policymakers.

The insights from the research will assist policymakers in understanding the realities of the situation for workers in the Malaysian medical gloves sector. The project aims to identify practical levers for positive change by focusing on how to incentivise and implement improvements to the medical gloves supply chain. This will focus on improvements that could be taken at both ends of the supply chain. In Malaysia, particular focus will be on mechanisms improving demonstrable outcomes for workers affected by modern slavery, including education and the reimbursement of recruitment fees. In the UK, the insights will focus on recommending policy changes and improvement of procurement practices.

Click here to read more.

This project was funded as part of the Modern Slavery PEC call for research on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on modern slavery.