TRS.20.036 – Making Labor Migration Fair. Protecting Rights and Promoting Inclusivity in Dutch Society: A triple case study.

Route: Towards resilient societies

Cluster question: 043 What are the causes and consequences of migration, and how can we deal with them?

This qualitative research project aims to identify the social and economic determinants that obstruct or enable labor migrants to exercise their citizen rights in the Netherlands, in which particular attention is given to the manifestation of labor exploitation. It investigates the position and situation of labor migrants in three different sectors: food/agriculture; service and sex industry from the migrant’s perspective. Labor migrants provide a large proportion of the labor force in the three sectors. Yet what they need as (temporary) citizens and to increase their inclusion remains understudied. In fact, society’s attention to labor migrants is erratic, limited to when incidents of extreme cases of exploitation, such as trafficking are discovered or recently when different slaughterhouses were identified as hotspots for the spread of COVID-19. Thus, there is an urgency to investigate the ways the labor migration industry effects the workers in their daily existence to contribute to protecting their rights through i.e. more inclusive policies. Labor migrants, particularly if undocumented or working in extreme conditions are difficult to reach. To tackle this difficulty the method Community Led Research in Action will be used. (Ex-) members of the different communities are trained to iteratively conduct all phases of research. This method not only provides a pragmatic solution regarding access but for the participating researchers it also enhances skills, future employment possibilities as well as strengthens their self-worth through increasing their knowledge. Knowledge-sharing activities between consortium partners and stakeholders will be organized throughout the course of the research to assure an on-going uptake of research results as well as provide spaces for dialogues of change. In its totality, the project increases the visibility of labor migrants’ plight by presenting their stories in an effort to increase their inclusion in society.


Exploitation, Fairrwork, Inclusivity, Labor Migrants, Migration Industry, Trafficking

Other organisations

ISS, SHOP Den Haag, UvA


Organisation VU Amsterdam
Name Dr. L.S. (Lorraine) Nencel