Labour migration

Each year, more than 3 million workers in Asia and the Pacific leave home to work in another country, joining some 25 million who are already abroad. Contrary to popular belief, most do not travel overseas but remain within the region. These workers, who represent a wide spectrum of skills and occupations, send back some US$ 70 billion in remittances each year, thereby helping to alleviate poverty and stimulate growth in their countries of origin.

Unfortunately, there are also significant problems associated with labour migration in Asia and the Pacific. In their eagerness to find employment abroad, many migrant workers end up indebted to job brokers or employers - effectively ending up in forms of debt-bondage. Quite literally, many risk life and limb to earn wages only slightly better than what they might have earned at home. A significant percentage become victims of trafficking, ending up as virtual slaves. The ILO is working with governments, workers’ and employers' organizations, and other partners, to create decent employment for migrant workers and make migration an instrument for development.

The following links provide more information and resources on managing labour migration and preventing and responding to human trafficking:

Current migration and counter-trafficking projects in the Asia-Pacific region: