The last two years have seen a proliferation of digital technology initiatives designed to improve conditions for migrant workers and address forced labour. These include, for example, platforms assisting workers to articulate and report exploitation within supply chains, evaluate recruiters and employers, or make secure recruitment or salary payments. Digital technology offers the promise to transform the labour migration landscape and to empower workers in new and previously uncontemplated ways, but also carries with it a host of risks and challenges. It is now time to take stock of these initiatives so that lessons can be learned in developing more effective future platforms that are used by migrant workers and result in improved choices and outcomes, and that meaningfully address risks to users and platform hosts.

The MWJI has undertaken the first global study of digital technology initiatives designed to improve migrant worker protection and enable access to justice, funded by the Open Society Foundation’s International Migration Initiative. The report from the study will map the range of existing digital tech initiatives, analysing the problems they are seeking to address and the ways in which they do this. It will consider the types of problems that technology is well-suited to address, and the conditions that promote (or inhibit) effective uptake and outcomes for workers. By identifying practical, legal, ethical and technological issues and risks for both migrant workers and platform-host organisations, the study is intended to promote a well-considered, migrant-centred approach to the development and implementation of disruptive digital interventions by funders and other stakeholders globally.

The report will be released in November 2018.