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Accidental traffickers? Informal facilitators in Ethiopia’s migration process

December 14, 2023

The rise of labour migration alongside risks of human trafficking and exploitation poses substantial global challenges. In Ethiopia, despite “safe migration” policies that regulate employment agencies and penalise unregistered recruiters, many migrants still utilise informal facilitators. These facilitators, often labelled as traffickers, were explored through interviews in a study focusing on recruitment practices for female migrants aiming for domestic work in the Middle East. 

The published academic paper Accidental traffickers: qualitative findings on labour recruitment in Ethiopia is a collaboration between the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Population Council and the Freedom Fund. The study revealed complexities in rural recruitment, the perceived benefits of bypassing legal protocols, the involvement of extensive networks in migration processes, and the facilitators’ limited ability to ensure migrants’ safety abroad. These findings suggest that policies simplistically dividing recruiters into legal and illegal are ineffective. Engaging informal facilitators constructively could lead to better outcomes, recommending safer employment pathways without criminalising their roles.

Click here or on the image below to access the academic paper.

Cover page of the academic paper: Accidental traffickers

Written by
The Freedom Fund