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Cooperation against trafficking

Major new initiative to protect women and girls from modern-day slavery

ILO and DFID team up to combat the trafficking of women and girls in South Asia and the Middle East.

News | 15 July 2013



London (ILO News) – Over 100,000 girls and women in South Asia are set to benefit from a new initiative by the International Labour Organization and the UK Department for International Development, which aims to prevent trafficking within the region and to the Middle East.

The Work In Freedom programme, funded by UK aid, will focus on trafficking in to domestic labour and the garment sector through known labour trafficking routes from Bangladesh, India and Nepal, to Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and India.

Head of the ILO Special Action Programme on Forced Labour, Beate Andrees said, “trafficking reduces labour to a commodity and opens workers to the worst kind of abuses. Work in Freedom is a major step in helping to prevent women and girls being tricked and trapped into this situation.”

Tens of thousands of women will receive training as part of the programme, designed to help them avoid being trafficked and to secure a legal contract and a decent wage. This will include improving understanding of their rights, how to organize collectively and vocational training to help ensure access to decent jobs in destination countries.
Work in Freedom is a major step in helping to prevent women and girls being tricked and trapped.”

At the same time the programme will crack down on unscrupulous recruitment practices, including the charging of extortionate, illegal recruitment fees. The ILO estimates that over $12billion worth of income a year is withheld from those in forced labour in Asia and the Middle East.

UK International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone said, “Income earned from migrant workers abroad and sent back home provides a vital source of support to families in developing countries worth billions of pounds and many times more than the global aid budget.”

“But it is appalling that today - hundreds of years since the abolition of the slave trade - women are still trafficked into abusive jobs in their millions,” she added.

“It is appalling that today - hundreds of years since the abolition of the slave trade - women are still trafficked into abusive jobs in their millions”
The Gender Violence and Health Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) will be evaluating the programme. LSHTM Director, Professor Peter Piot, said, “given the large numbers of women and girls putting themselves at risk of harm to support their families, it is exceedingly urgent that we seek strong evidence on what works to prevent human trafficking and stop extreme exploitation.”

The UK Department for International Development, ILO and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine are hosting a two-day conference bringing together governments, international and regional institutions, private sector, trade unions and NGOs to create a network of organizations to take action against trafficking.

For information please contact the ILO Department of Communication and Public Information on +41 22 799 7912 or newsroom@ilo.org 

Tags: forced labour, public private partnerships

Unit responsible: Department of Communication (DCOMM)

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