Ukraine crisis

ILO and ELA join forces to reduce the risks of labour exploitation and human trafficking for Ukrainians fleeing from the war

The ILO has already launched an information campaign on the dangers of forced labour which has reached 1.2 million refugees and internally displaced persons.

News | 04 October 2022
BUDAPEST (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Labour Authority (ELA) have joined forces to respond to the risks of human trafficking, forced labour and undeclared work involving people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

A joint agency workshop discussed best practices and key recommendations to better protect refugees by improving prevention, protection, prosecution, and international cooperation; implementing targeted awareness campaigns; encouraging inspections in the sectors most at risk; and increasing cooperation between labour inspectorates, law enforcement and the judiciary.

The workshop, on 4 October 2022, in Budapest, Hungary, brought together labour inspectorates and law enforcement authorities of the EU and other European states that are transit or destination countries for refugees fleeing the conflict. Representatives of the Ministries of Economy and Social Policy from Ukraine, the Ministry of Labour of Moldova, Europol, Eurojust, and European Commission also took part in the meeting.

Since the onset of the war, more than 7.5 million Ukrainian refugees have spread across Europe. Approximately 85 per cent of them are women and children. They might be tempted to accept work without proper contracts, have their documents taken away, or find themselves in other situations where they can be exploited. In extreme cases they can become victims of forced labour or child labour.

The ILO Office for Central and Eastern Europe provides advisory services to 18 member countries to develop policies and programmes that promote more and better jobs for all women and men. The ILO has been providing assistance to Ukrainian refugees, including humanitarian aid and income support. It has also devised an information campaign on the dangers of human trafficking and forced labour which has reached 1.2 million internally displaced and refugees from Ukraine to date.

The ELAs seek to support the Member States in protecting displaced persons from the risk of undeclared work or exploitation at the workplace. Its activities include the creation of awareness-raising videos targeting Ukrainian refugees and encouraging the organisation of cross-border inspections between EU countries.

The ELA was created to help Member States and the European Commission to ensure fair and effective labour mobility within the EU, including by supporting the organisation of cross-border inspections. The Authority is also mandated to facilitate cooperation in tackling undeclared work. The ELA was established on 31 July 2019 and since September 2021 has had its permanent seat in Bratislava, Slovakia.