We believe that if we can expand access to safer labor migration pathways, we can start to reform the precarious experience of migration and reduce migrant workers’ vulnerability to exploitation.
Many of the workers exploited around the world are migrant workers, who seek employment opportunities in other countries when opportunities do not exist in their own, in order to send remittances back home. These jobs are often providing services or producing goods within corporate supply chains.
In order to obtain a job, these migrant workers are often forced to rely on exploitative recruiters who charge extortionate fees and deceive workers. Many of these workers are placed in jobs that are different from what they were promised. This includes being placed in different locations, living in terrible conditions, and being paid less than what they expected. These dynamics ensure workers end up trapped in debt bondage, sometimes for years on end. The cultural barriers, legal barriers, and power dynamics they face, both with their employers and their host countries, can prevent these migrant workers from speaking up and enforcing their own rights.
At Humanity United, we support the implementation of ethical recruitment solutions and the expanded availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration. Our work in this area focuses on the two most common entry points for a migrant worker into a situation of forced labor—particularly debt bondage—and human trafficking.
We aim to improve conditions for prospective workers before they leave for a job, including aiding the accelerated development of a market for ethical recruitment agencies, promoting true transparency in recruitment fees, and supporting the external validation of implementation of policies and regulations that prevent workers from having to pay to obtain a job.
We also seek to improve conditions for workers while on-the-job, including ensuring that companies apply the ILO’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, regardless of their employment location or status. We also support work to encourage Memorandums of Understanding among governments, typically between home countries and host countries, and to enhance the availability and flexibility of pathways for regular and safer migration.
Finally, our work includes improving conditions for workers when they leave a job, including the promotion of faster, safer and cheaper transfers of remittances; affordable and public legal assistance if needed; and the facilitation of a safe, healthy, and dignified return, readmission, and sustainable reintegration in their home countries.