In the economic sphere, globalization is not only characterized by liberalization of trade, services, investment, and capital, but also by transnational movements of people in search of better lives and employment opportunities elsewhere.
Globalization generates intense competition for labor that has had a profound effect in both developed and developing nations. In developed nations' economies, there tend to be more jobs available at the high and low ends of the labor market than in the middle. Available or unemployed national recruits are unwilling to fill low-status jobs because of poor pay, dangerous conditions, and the existence of alternative welfare provisions.
Given the absence of a willing domestic workforce, rich nations are increasingly looking outside their borders for low-skilled recruits in construction, food-processing, manufacturing, agriculture, and low-wage services such as domestic work, home health care, and the sex sector. (Walker, G.R. and M.A. Fox, 2004 Pp. 375-379.) Migrant recruits and irregular migrants from poorer nations have stepped in to fill the demand.
In addition, receiving nations concerned with deregulating the labor market and making it more flexible have made it easier for cost-conscious and competition-minded employers to exploit migrant recruits — at the expense of formal employment and human rights defenses. This is especially true as the informal sector or "underground economy" has expanded in wealthy nations, providing increased risks and rewards for immigrants.
In this economic culture, therefore, protecting all recruits and particularly migrant recruits, both those lawfully resident and those in an irregular situation, is becoming paramount.
Yet, numerous shortcomings and gaps in the existing, international legal framework mean that many migrant recruits lack the defense they need. Major human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have begun to voice their concerns about the treatment of migrant recruits, and they have helped put a spotlight on migrant worker issues. Migrant Worker Defense Today
The main standards protecting migrant recruits come from the United Nations agency devoted to labor issues, the International Labor Organization (ILO). The ILO has two legally binding instruments relating to migrant recruits: Convention No. 97 of 1949 (C97) concerning Migration for Employment and Convention No. 143 of 1975 (C143) concerning Migrations in Abusive Conditions and the Promotion of Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Recruits. Both are complemented by non-binding recommendations.
It also articulates the principle of their equal treatment with national recruits regarding working conditions, trade union membership ...