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26 Apr, 2018

Trades Union launches platform to help migrant workers combat unscrupulous recruitment agencies

Brussels, The ITUC has launched a new web platform to help protect migrant workers from abusive employment practices, by providing them with peer-to-peer reviews about recruitment agencies in their country of origin and destination.

The Recruitment Advisor, developed by the ITUC with support from the ILO Fair Recruitment initiative, lists thousands of agencies in Nepal, Philippines, Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and other countries.

The platform allows workers to comment on their experiences, rate the recruitment agencies and learn about their rights. Initially available in English, Indonesian, Nepali and Tagalog, it will be further developed in more languages.

Governments provided the list of licensed agencies and a network of trade unions and civil society organisations in all target countries ensures the sustainability of the platform by reaching out to workers and speaking to them about their rights.

Public and private recruitment agencies, when appropriately regulated, play an important role in the efficient and equitable functioning of both the migration process and labour markets in countries of destination, by matching the right workers with specific labour needs and labour markets, as well as creating invaluable skills assets for countries and communities of origin when workers return home.

Ultimately Recruitment Advisor will promote recruiters who follow a fair recruitment process based on ILO General Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment and will provide useful feedback to governments regarding the practices of licensed recruitment agencies, which could be used to complement more traditional monitoring systems.

Recruitment is a critical stage when migrant workers are more vulnerable to abuse. “Unscrupulous recruitment agencies take advantage of the lack of law enforcement by governments or because workers are simply not aware of their rights,” says ITUC General Secretary, Sharan Burrow. “It’s time to put power back into workers’ hands to rate the recruitment agencies and show whether their promises of jobs and wages are delivered.”

“This platform can help migrant workers make critical choices at the time of planning their journey to work in a foreign country. We know that when a worker is recruited fairly, the risk of ending in forced labour is drastically reduced,” says ILO technical specialist Alix Nasri. “We strongly encourage workers to share their experiences so others can learn from them. A critical mass of review is needed for the platform to be really helpful for migrants.”

“An organised workforce cannot be enslaved, but when there is a governance failure and no law enforcement, then slavery can flourish. Together we will stop unscrupulous recruitment practices, we will eliminate slavery in the supply chains and we will end modern slavery,” said Burrow.

Every year, millions of migrant workers leave their homes in the search for a better future for their families. Unfortunately, many are tricked by the false promises made by local recruitment agencies – including fake jobs, unpaid salaries, and unsafe working conditions. As a result, thousands of workers end up in the hands of exploitive recruiters and abusive employers with many people being trapped in forced labour, bonded labour and other forms of modern slavery.

This exploitation can be stopped, and with access to the right information migrant workers have the power to do this.

Consisting of unions from different countries, our team has developed Recruitment Advisor platform with the aim to empower and protect workers as well as to promote their trade unions’ rights, to share their recruitment experience, and to promote those recruiters that follow a fair recruitment process based on ILO General Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment.

The Recruitment Advisor is a global peer-to-peer recruitment and employment review platform offering migrant workers easy access to information about recruitment agencies and workers’ rights when looking for a job abroad. With listings of more than 10,000 agencies in selected countries, people in search of work can access reviews by other workers”. Together we will stop unscrupulous recruitment practices, we will eliminate slavery in the supply chains and we will end modern slavery.

RecruitmentAdvisor is developed by a consortium of unions from different countries. RecruitmentAdvisor has coordination teams in 4 countries (currently in the Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal and Malaysia). Together with several other organizations in each country, the team reaches out to the workers with the mission to raise awareness on the workers’ rights to be fairly recruited based on ILO General Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitmentand to encourage workers to share and learn about recruitment through RecruitmentAdvisor.

Here are the organizations that have been working together to make and manage RecruitmentAdvisor:

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is the global voice of the world’s working people. The ITUC’s primary mission is the promotion and defence of workers’ rights and interests, through international cooperation between trade unions, global campaigning and advocacy within the major global institutions.



SENTRO or Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa was formally established when it held its founding congress August of 2013. Representing at least 80,000 members in the private, public and informal sectors, including migrant workers, women and the youth, SENTRO is committed to take social movement unionism (SMU) to new heights by intensifying the organizing of industry and sectoral unions in the country.


Federation of Free Workers (FFW)

The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) was founded on 19 June 1950 by a group of young, idealistic, sincere and dedicated labor leaders led by Juan C. Tan, who were inspired by the Christian teachings of Rev. Fr. Walter G. Hogan, S.J. (†), thus becoming the first labor federation which appeals to and draws its inspirations from the social doctrines and principles of Christianity.


Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK)

PSLINK is a confederation of public sector unions of Philippine government employees from different national government agencies, state universities and colleges, local government units, government-financial institutions, health, teachers, and special sectors.


Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC)

The MTUC is a federation of trade unions and registered under the Societies Act, 1955. It is the oldest National Centre representing the Malaysian workers. The Unions affiliated to MTUC represent all major industries and sector with approximately 500,000 members.


Konfederasi Serikat Pekerja Indonesia (KSPI)

KSPI establishment and existence can not be separated from the dynamics occurring within the SPSI post 1998. Since the issuance of Kepmenaker no 5 1998 on the registration of trade unions, many unions are established in Indonesia. This raises concerns among SPSI’s board members. On the other hand, SPSI officials began to question their organizational form; which is in the shape of the Federation but the highest sovereignty in the hands of members, i.e. the people.


Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)

Conceived in 1990 in a meeting of migrant workers’ advocates in Hong Kong, MFA was formally organized in 1994 in a forum held in Taiwan entitled, “Living and Working Together with Migrants in Asia”.

MFA is a regional network of non-government organizations (NGOs), associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and individual advocates in Asia who are committed to protect and promote the rights and welfare of migrant workers.


International Labor Organization

The only tripartite U.N. agency, since 1919 the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States , to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.