Amazon is committed to respecting internationally recognized human rights through the ethical treatment of our workforce and the people who support our entire value chain. Our long established approach codified in our Global Human Rights Principles and Supply Chain Standards, demonstrates our support for fundamental human rights and the dignity of people connected to our business around the world. We believe transparency is critical in driving continuous improvement and helping address systemic issues affecting supply chain workers. We are committed to continuously strengthening our approach over time, ensuring all individuals connected with our value chain are treated with dignity and respect.
In 2023, Amazon found violations of its Supply Chain Standards through an independent audit of a third-party licensed temporary labor agency (third-party vendor) Abdullah Fahad Al-Mutairi Co. (AFMCO) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Following these findings, similar concerns were also raised by external organizations about the treatment of AFMCO employees who support our operations in the region.
In cases when our own review, credible independent research, or employee concerns reveal findings in violation of our Supply Chain Standards, our first priority is to work with the associated third-party vendor to investigate, remediate issues, and improve conditions for contracted workers. We then implement long-term strategies and improve controls with third-party vendors to prevent recurrence and raise overall standards for those workers.Amazon believes all people who support our business deserve fundamental dignity and respect, and although contracted workers are not Amazon employees, we are equally committed to workers who support our operations through third-party vendors.

Significant progress on remediation has been made

Amazon engaged a third-party labor rights expert, Verité to conduct a focused assessment of foreign migrant worker issues and to investigate worker-paid recruitment fees at two Amazon facilities in KSA. Contracted workers employed by AFMCO were interviewed and worker-paid recruitment fees were investigated, all in support of remediating issues. Verité’s findings included violations of our Supply Chain Standards such as: worker-paid recruitment fees to obtain employment with AFMCO, substandard living accommodations, contract and wage irregularities, and delays in the resolution of worker complaints.
Through audits conducted over the past few months, Amazon has verified that AFMCO has remediated the most serious concerns, including making significant progress to improve workers’ housing. Among these changes are upgrades in living accommodations, providing lockers for personal belongings, limiting the number of occupants per room, upgrading fire safety systems, and ensuring living conditions meet our standards. We have also secured AFMCO’s commitment that after its employees cease working at Amazon, AFMCO will pay its employees in line with their contracts and will not move them to a new accommodation site that fails to meet Amazon’s standards. AFMCO also established a more robust system to enable workers to anonymously raise grievances. We’ll continue to monitor improvements and progress through ongoing site visits.
As a result of our findings with AFMCO, we conducted a deeper dive into practices of our third-party vendors throughout KSA. We found instances where contracted workers were required to pay fees, including recruitment fees and other costs, to secure employment—a violation of our Supply Chain Standards. To expedite the reimbursement process, Amazon partnered with a third-party human rights expert, Impactt Ltd., to engage directly with workers. The organization also established and independently managed a temporary helpline dedicated to addressing workers’ concerns during the reimbursement process. Amazon and Impactt worked together to establish reimbursement amounts, and manage data collection and repayment. To determine reimbursement amounts, Amazon considered key factors including the payments reported by workers, changes in historic exchange rates, compound inflation, and interest. As a result of this work, Amazon paid $1.9 million (USD) in reimbursements to over 700 contracted workers.
Amazon is committed to providing continuous education for our third-party vendors and enforcement our Supply Chain Standards. Our goal is for all of our vendors to have management systems in place that ensure safe and healthy working conditions; this includes responsible recruitment practices. While we require our vendors to bear the cost of worker-paid recruitment fees, in this case, Amazon provided the reimbursement to expedite repayment to workers impacted.

Enhanced controls to reduce the risk of recurrence implemented

Amazon supports contracted workers’ safety and prevents risk by insisting our third-party vendors uphold our Supply Chain Standards, including those outlining responsible recruitment practices and applicable laws in KSA. Efforts to enhance controls include:
  • Strengthened third-party vendor contracts to clarify expectations regarding compliance with our Supply Chain Standards
  • Reviewed vendors’ wage policies, including clarification that illegal wage deductions are prohibited
  • Provided additional training to vendors in the region on how to implement our Supply Chain Standards, including responsible recruitment practices
  • Improved our communication mechanism that enables contracted workers to share concerns directly with Amazon’s management

Committed to ongoing and continuous improvements region-wide

Amazon remains dedicated to continuously strengthening and improving protections for all contracted workers who support our business. We remain grateful to those who brought attention to this issue, and above all, appreciate the willingness of all the workers who participated throughout this process and shared their experiences. Our priority at all times is the safety and well-being of workers throughout our supply chain.
See our Supply Chain Standards and Global Human Rights Principles for more information.