“I was in child labour. Now I’m getting my MBA.”

Usman Bilal

Usman Bilal, a former child labourer, is an MBA student and child-labour activist.

When I was young, I lived in my village in Pakistan with my father, mother, three brothers and four sisters. My father was a carpenter and he worked hard to build a bright future for his family, but his income was too low to make this possible.

So, in 2001, when I was just ten, my parents sent me far away, to my maternal uncle’s workshop in the village of Bhagwal Awan, in the district of Sialkot, to make surgical instruments. I didn’t want to go, I wanted to stay in school and study, but I had no choice.

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The blind spot of efforts to tackle human trafficking

Igor Bosc

Igor Bosc is Chief Technical Advisor, Work in Freedom Programme, ILO Decent Work Team for South Asia and Country Office for India.

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.

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Regulating work in the ‘gig economy’

Janine Berg, Senior Economist

Janine Berg, Senior Economist at the ILO and Valerio De Stefano, ILO Technical Officer on Non-Standard Forms of Employment

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.

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