Promoting ethical recruitment in the hotel and tourism industry

Improving migration pathways for migrant hotel workers
  • 16 million people

    estimated in forced labour in private sector globally

  • 10%

    of private sector forced labour occurs in accommodation and food services


The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance have created a partnership to promote ethical recruitment in hospitality and tourism that align with IOM’s IRIS: Ethical Recruitment Programme.
Logo for IOM

Responsible recruitment in the hospitality industry

Workers are increasingly looking for job opportunities beyond their home country in search of decent work and better livelihoods. Many countries depend on migrant workers to satisfy local job demands, and millions of workers also migrate internally in search of opportunities.

The hospitality industry is a people industry, employing hundreds of millions of workers worldwide. The industry employs many migrant workers, particularly in fast-growing markets and in preparation of large-scale events (e.g. global sporting events). Recruiting across borders enables hotels to find the talent and skills needed and fill gaps in the local labour market.

Recruitment processes and workers’ journeys differ. All of them may present risks to workers, especially when recruitment is done without due diligence throughout the recruitment and migration process.

Migrant worker recruitment risk profile

About this project

The initiative aims to promote ethical recruitment in cross-border labour migration and make international recruitment fair for everyone involved.

Why we are doing this

Migrant workers can be particularly at risk of forced labour due to unethical employment and recruitment practices – intentional or unintentional. This can include coercion to work through violence or intimidation, contract deception, debt bondage, restrictions on freedom of movement, retention of identity documents, threats, and poor living and working conditions.

For hotels, failure to mitigate against human rights issues in the labour supply chain can result in failure to meet national or international regulations, fines and imprisonment, reputational risk, and loss of commercial opportunities and investment.

What we are doing

This initiative brings together recruitment agencies in countries of origin, with hotel companies in countries of destination, and local governments to:

  • Support recruitment agencies in adopting ethical recruitment practices
  • Raise awareness and increase commitment across the sector
  • Develop hospitality-specific trainings and tools on implementing ethical recruitment
  • Create guidance for hotel companies operating in countries of destination
  • Improve access to information for hotel workers throughout their recruitment journey

If your hotel is interested in taking part in this initiative, please contact us to find out more.

Find out more

Establishing ethical recruitment practices

Read our free practical guidance for the hospitality industry on recruiting international migrant workers ethically within business enterprise operations and supply chains.

Establishing Ethical Recruitment guide cover

Get involved

If you, or your hotel properties, would like to find out more about taking part in this programme, please view the additional information, available in English and Spanish.

Promoting ethical recruitment flyers example
Logo for IOM
“Private sector partnerships play a vital role in promoting ethical recruitment and safe migration. IOM’s cooperation with the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance is the foundation for building capacity and resources to address unethical recruitment and enhance protection for migrant workers in the hospitality and tourism industry. Our partnership leverages the combined influence of both organizations to effectively promote ethical recruitment and build respect for the rights of migrant workers.”

Monica Goracci, Director, Department of Migration Management, IOM

Where we are currently working

We are working in key migration corridors in Central America targeting destination countries such as Mexico and Panama, and from East Africa to countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council including Kuwait and Oman.
World map highlighting the two key migration corridoors that we are working in, as part of our Responsible Recruitment project with IOM.

Learnings from this project will also enable the global hotel industry to better understand, identify, and address risks related to unethical recruitment faced by migrant workers in their global supply chains.

  • Origin countries
  • Destinations countries

Help us to protect migrant workers in hospitality

Find out how to become a partner

We are working with hospitality companies, governmental institutions, non-profits and other industries to embed responsible recruitment and decent work practices across the global hospitality supply chain.

The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance recognises other standards and trainings in the advancement of ethical recruitment and employment practices across the hospitality industry.