Launch of DFID-ILO “Work in Freedom” programme

The UK Department for International Development (DFID), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) will launch the new “Work in Freedom” programme to fight trafficking of women and girls from South-Asia.

Work in Freedom will be introduced by the UK International Development Minister, Lynne Featherstone, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder and LSHTM Director, Peter Piot.

Millions of women are trafficked from South Asia each year into exploitative forced labour like conditions. The UK aid funded programme aims to make migration safe for girls and women, travelling to work in the domestic labour and garment sectors in the Middle East and within South Asia.  Efforts will concentrate on three key departure countries - Bangladesh, India and Nepal – and major destination countries - India, Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

The programme aims to build a partnership between governments, employer and worker organizations and key stakeholders, including private sector actors, international organizations and above all, the collective voice of women workers, to improve conditions, practices and policies affecting the workplace.

The event in London will bring together key players from all of these groups, including women with first-hand experience of the pitfalls of migrating to help ensure a better life for their families.

Journalists can request to attend the morning session, from 10:00am to 12:00 and time will be given to questions from the media.

Attendance is by invite only but you can follow the event on Twitter @ILO, @DFID_UK or via the hashtag #WorkInFreedom

You can support our initiative by spreading the word on Twitter:

Today, 21 million people are victims of #forcedlabour. What can be done? Learn about the #WorkInFreedom initiative:

Women everywhere have the right to #WorkInFreedom anywhere. Let’s #EndSlaveryNow

Three out of every 1000 persons worldwide are in forced labour. Everyone, everywhere deserves to #WorkInFreedom

There are more people in slavery today than at any time in human history #workinfreedom. Let's #EndSlaveryNow

Ask an #ILO expert your questions on #trafficking and #forcedlabour. Tweet to @ILO on July15 @1230GMT using #WorkInFreedom hashtag

Agenda of the launch event

10:00 – 11:00Opening Session
  • Eliminating forced labour and trafficking – why prevention matters
  • Importance of this new ILO-DFID partnership programme
  • Link to the global development agenda
  • Understanding the experience and needs of migrant women workers themselves
  • Ms. Lynne Featherstone, Minister, DFID
  • Mr. Guy Ryder, Director-General, ILO
  • Mr. Peter Piot, Director, LSHTM
  • Ms. Nalini Nayak, Co-Founder, SEWA Kerala 
11:30 – 12:30Panel Discussion: Building commitment from governments, employers and trade unions to prevent trafficking
  • Changing policies and practices of governments
  • Incentivising change in the private sector
  • Engaging workers for win-win outcomes


  • Moderator: Ms. Beate Andrees, Head of SAP-FL, ILO-Geneva
  • Mr Suresh Man Shrestha, Labour Secretary, MoLE,Nepal
  • Mr. MD. Nurul Islam, Joint Secretary, MEWOE, Bangladesh
  • Ms. Iman Khazaal, Head of Migration Desk, MOL, Lebanon
  • Mr. Roberto Suarez Santos, Deputy, Secretary-General, IOE
  • Mr. Jeroen Beirnaert, Project Coordinator, ITUC