New Projects to Tackle Human Trafficking and Promote Ethical Recruitment in the Philippines

Manila – IOM Philippines recently launched two projects aimed at increasing access to ethical recruitment and reducing the prevalence of human trafficking among Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), through funding from the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) and the US Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP).

Aligning Lenses Toward Ethical Recruitment (ALTER) aims to increase access to ethical recruitment channels for OFWs by supporting wider adoption of ethical recruitment principles in the Philippines, and creating an enabling environment for employers and recruiters to commit to and practice those principles.

Multiple complementary workstreams will bring together the Government of the Philippines, Philippine recruitment agencies (PRAs), the hospitality industry, and civil society organizations (CSOs) dedicated to migrant worker protection.

Led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), ALTER will be implemented by a consortium that includes the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, Diginex, and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance. The consortium will improve recruitment industry practices by supporting and incentivizing the effective, sustainable adoption of ethical recruitment in the Philippines, with particular emphasis on hospitality workers.

The Improving Migrant and Community Preparation and Awareness to Counter Trafficking (IMPACT) project takes a community-driven, grassroots approach towards prevention and mitigation of risks of Trafficking in Persons (TiP) and labour exploitation. The project focuses on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), recognizing that the region is a major sending location of OFWs with a higher prevalence of human trafficking.

IMPACT will build awareness of risks and drivers of human trafficking through community-driven initiatives and information campaigns on TiP issues, targeting at-risk communities across BARMM. It will also work on the localization of the existing pre-departure orientation (PDO) modules and materials for BARMM-origin prospective labour migrants, along with capacity building of the PDO service providers, so that the migrants have access to contextualized information and that enables better-informed, safer migration practices.

Both projects officially commenced in August 2020 with a series of government launches, with the first phases of IMPACT and ALTER focusing on the evidence building through desk research and baseline assessments, as well as development of various knowledge products.

The projects will run for an 18-month period until January 2022.

“ALTER is looking to sustainably reduce the prevalence of TIP among OFWs by empowering the Government of the Philippines and civil society to create an environment for more employers and private recruitment agencies (PRAs) to practice ethical recruitment and provide safer employment alternatives overseas,” said Kristin Dadey, Chief of Mission IOM Philippines.

She added, “IMPACT is really about a multifaceted approach to build awareness of trafficking among the most at-risk communities of BARMM. This will be achieved through capacity building and awareness raising in a localized context based on evidence and behavioral change.”

In particular, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing wide-scale job loss with little prospect of immediate employment opportunities, ALTER and IMPACT will play a critical role in the recovery effort by ensuring the redeployment of OFWs will be compliant with relevant regulations and consistent with international standards of ethical recruitment while also increasing resilience of vulnerable BARMM communities against risks and drivers of human trafficking, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The projects will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – particularly Goal 8: decent work and economic growth; and Goal 10: reduced inequalities.

For more information, please contact Natsuko Kobiyama Yoshino at IOM Philippines at Email: