Every time the clarions of war are heard about fighting human trafficking, policy efforts tend to focus on addressing the alleged naivety of those who are trafficked and prosecuting the pimps or middlemen who recruit people for work. As the prevailing logic goes, migrants should know better and recruiters should be put on a tight leash. Rarely much is done about addressing issues at the demand end – where people work.
The ‘gig economy’ which includes ‘crowd-work’ and ‘work-on-demand via apps’, is often seen as the future of work. And though it makes headlines nearly daily, many important questions regarding labour protection have yet to be addressed.
Crowd-work is work that is performed on on-line platforms by groups of individual workers, responding to on-line calls. It can include skilled jobs such as programming and translation to more routine jobs such as cleaning data, tagging photographs or compiling lists of books or movies that on-line customers may be interested in purchasing. The work is performed on-line by the ‘crowd’ who may live anywhere in the world so long as they are connected to the internet.
The 104th International Labour Conference has voted for the adoption of a Recommendation on transition from the informal to the formal economy after two years of deliberations.
It was the first ever international labour standard specifically aimed at tackling the informal economy, which comprises more than half of the world’s workforce.