Side event to the Human Rights Council

Preventing the exploitation of workers during recruitment: Regulation and enforcement models

The International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will present the main results of ILO and UNODC studies, and member States, workers and employers’ representatives and other key stakeholders will share practices to foster fair recruitment, prevent human trafficking and reduce the costs of labour migration.


In today’s globalized economy, workers are increasingly looking for job opportunities beyond their home countries. In addition, millions of workers migrate internally. Public and private employment agencies, when appropriately regulated, play an important role in mediating opportunities for productive employment and decent work, and promoting the efficient and equitable functioning of labour markets.

However, concerns are being raised about unscrupulous employment agencies, informal labour recruiters and criminal traffickers who prey on vulnerable and low-skilled workers in particular, acting outside national legal and regulatory frameworks. Reported abuses include deception about the nature and conditions of work, retention of passports, deposits and illegal wage deductions, debt bondage linked to repayment of recruitment fees, and threats of violence or deportation if workers want to leave their employer. A combination of these abusive practices can lead to forced labour. The response to such abusive and irregular labour recruitment practices requires collaboration between source and destination countries as well as between governments, workers’ and employers’ organisations and civil society.

International standards, including ILO Conventions and the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, oblige governments to take measures against abusive and fraudulent recruitment practices. The adoption, implementation and enforcement of these standards by all member States would improve the governance of labour recruitment both within and across countries. Labour and criminal justice systems provide for different but complementary approaches to remedy. A discussion of emerging practices is timely to inform and enhance current efforts to prevent and punish migrant workers’ exploitation during the recruitment process.

Learn more on the Fair Recruitment Initiative


12:30 – Welcome Buffet in front of Room IX

13:00 - Opening remarks:
  • Sarah Fox, Special Representative for International Labor Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Aldo Lale-Demoz, Deputy Executive Director, UNODC
  • Moussa Oumarou, Director Governance and Tripartism Department, ILO
  • Youla A. Haddadin, Advisor on Trafficking in Persons, OHCHR
  • Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children (by video message)

Interactive Panel Discussion on the role of regulation and enforcement:

  • Carla M. Bury, Multilateral Affairs Coordinator, U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
  • Neha Misra, Senior Specialist Migration and Human Trafficking, Solidarity Center
  • Denis Pennel, Managing Director, International Confederation of Private Employment Services
Q & A session with participants

Interactive Panel Discussion on promising practices:

  • Jeriel Domingo, Deputy Administrator, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
  • Darryl Dixon, Director of Strategy, Gangmasters Licensing Authority, UK
  • Jay Short, Manager of Special Investigations, Manitoba Labour and Immigration, Canada
  • Laurent De Boeck, Head, Labour Migration and Human Development, IOM
Q & A session with participants

Moderator: John Morrison, Executive Director, Institute of Human Rights and Business

Free admission, advance registration required
This event is funded by the US Department of State & Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.