A RECRUITMENT organization authorized to hire workers bound for Hong Kong has signed an agreement with the International Labor Organization (ILO) to observe best practices in recruiting domestic workers.

The ILO on Friday said the Society of Hong Kong-Accredited Recruiters in the Philippines (SHARP) agreed to a Code of Conduct outlining fair recruitment in the hiring of domestic workers to Hong Kong. The Association of Hong Kong Manpower Agencies (AHKMA) also took part in the signing.

ILO Fair Project Program Manager Gaela Roudy-Fraser said in a statement Friday, “Non-binding bilateral instruments such as this Code of Conduct are another step to promote and ensure fair and ethical recruitment of all workers, including migrant domestic workers.”

The ILO Fair Project aims to promote fair recruitment practices to protect migrant workers worldwide.

Under the ILO Fair Project, members of SHARP and AHKMA were trained in ethical and fair recruitment in line with The Code by experts tapped by the ILO.

Hong Kong Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) said in statement Friday, “The code went through a long, consultative process of drafting. The signing is only the beginning. What is crucial is implementing the Code and ensuring that compliance monitoring is built into a system to demonstrates good practice.”

The Code also underlines prohibited practices, emphasizes employees’ labor rights and security, and requires access to grievance and mediation services.

“Recruitment should take place in a way that respects, protects and fulfills internationally-recognized human rights. Workers should have access to free, comprehensive and accurate information. Agencies should take affirmative steps to ensure that workers are employed under contracts that respect their rights,” said SHARP President Alfredo Palmiery in a statement on Friday.

AHKMA Chairperson Tereso Liu Tsui Lan said in a statement on Friday, “The Code aims to enhance business operations, to maintain the reputable brands of AHKMA and SHARP as key industry players, and to optimize benefits to both employer and domestic worker toward a successful recruitment and employment outcome.” — Gillian M. Cortez