Labour Rights

Employer or hiring agency recruits using false advertising and/or contracts


Everyone has the right to just and favourable conditions of work.


Misleading or false recruitment advertising and other abusive hiring practices can lead to debt bondage, isolation, surveillance, withholding of money and threats of violence and denunciation to authorities, all indicators of modern slavery. Businesses can ensure safe recruitment practices by conducting due diligence on recruitment agencies they intend to use, as well as on businesses in their supply chain.


Recruitment agencies can often facilitate the movement of workers looking for job opportunities outside of their home country. Recruitment agencies are especially sought after in sectors where there is seasonal demand, often attracting migrant workers and those who may not speak a common language. Migrant workers regularly travel great distances and may not have a support network in the foreign country, are at the greatest risk of exploitative and abusive hiring practices. For example, migrant workers often rely on recruitment agencies to handle complex visa procedures and will submit personal identity documents to gain employment. Workers who flee exploitative work arrangements without access to their identity documents are at risk of becoming undocumented and left stranded without accommodation and money.


Recruitment agencies will also often charge a fee for the services provided. Sometimes this will represent a disproportionately high percentage of the salary advertised. In these circumstances, there is a risk that the employee will be subject to unauthorised deductions or debt bondage.


Businesses can ensure safe recruitment practices by conducting due diligence on recruitment agencies they use in the market, and ensure they undertake due diligence to ensure other businesses in its supply chain also have safe recruitment practices. Businesses in low-skilled or seasonal industries need to take extra care to ensure legitimate recruitment agencies are used, given the vulnerability of potential workers in these sectors.

Relevant Human Rights Instruments

ILO Convention concerning Private Employment Agencies, 1997 (No. 181)
ILO Convention concerning the Protection of Wages, 1949 (No. 95)
ILO Convention concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers, 2011 (No. 189)
ILO Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, 1973 (No. 138)
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, Article 8
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, 1990



SDG 8.7

Ensuring salary deductions are not made without employee authorization or knowledge may promote SDG 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.

SDG 8.8
Similarly, ensuring recruitment does not involve false advertising or contracting promotes SDG 8.8: Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.