Tesol Law have published a draft discussion of a code of ethics, together with a discussion on the thinking behind it. It's not a new idea- the concept has been bandied around before. Most of the code seems pretty straightforward and sensible to me, but the enforceability of it is a different question. Robert J. Dickey, in his discussion, recognises that this could be 'a blessing or a curse' as it doesn't come from a recognised body.
Doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professionals can be struck off registers and not allowed to work if they don't meet the standards required, which would not be the case here as there is no body and the profession is so fragmented and crosses so many borders. In the course of a lifetime, many ESL teachers will work in many different countries, with many different laws and standards. I think the idea is a good one- teachers who sign up to the code are likely to be the more serious and dedicated ones, even with the unenforceability of it. However, I think that there should also be an employers' code of ethics to try to ensure that standards are met on both sides, especially in a profession like this where there are many unpleasant stories from both sides.
There does seem to be a general movement towards an agreement that something needs to be done in ESL- the huge expansion has led to many areas being bandit territory. Last year there was a sort of movement towards establishing a union in Europe, which seems to have fallen by the wayside. There is also much discussion about tumbling salaries in some areas, and there are places like the UK and South Korea that seem to have greater problems than normal. This code would be a step forwards in my opinion, but one that should go in tandem with a greater acountability amongst the employers too.