Winners of the 2021 ILO Global Media Competition on Labour Migration

To mark International Migrants Day on 18 December the International Labour Organization (ILO) announced four winners of its 2021 Global Media Competition on Labour Migration.

This year, specific coverage of issues related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on migrant workers was encouraged, as well as stories about migrant domestic workers to mark the 10th anniversary of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) .

The competition aims to promote quality reporting on labour migration issues, since balanced and ethical reporting can play an important role in addressing stereotypes and misconceptions, and highlight the positive contribution migrant workers make in their countries of origin and destination.

Karim, migrant worker portrayed in Judit Alonso Gonzalbez, Javier Sulé y Marta Saiz’s article “Urban miners in the open air, the invisible face of recycling” © Javier Sulé Ortega

An independent panel of six judges  reviewed the entries based on the criteria of creativity, accuracy and balance, protection of migrants and positive portrayal of labour migration. After a rigorous review process prizes were awarded in two different categories:

Professional category:

Student category:

The winning entries were selected from a shortlist of finalists , which the judges praised for the quality of the reporting.

“The global pandemic has raised unprecedented challenges for migrant workers around the world, but at the same time, it also represented a unique opportunity to highlight their contribution and commitment to the recovery strategies in their countries of employment. Migrant workers continue to play a crucial role in the essential economic sectors. The prize-winning articles in this year’s competition emphasize the determination of migrant workers to be actors of change in their host communities,” said Michelle Leighton, Chief of the ILO’s Labour Migration Branch.

Brenda Dama’s video on TikTok, from Louise Donovan’s article “Domestic Workers in Gulf Countries Vent Woes on TikTok” © Olyvia Lim

The stories highlight the importance, particularly during the current crisis, of good governance of labour migration and protection of migrant workers’ rights, including migrant domestic workers, in line with International Labour Standards as well as with the ILO’s General Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment and Definition of Recruitment Fees and Related Costs . These principles reiterate, among others, that workers shall not be charged fees or related costs for their recruitment, and call for fair and effective labour migration frameworks, institutions and services to protect migrant workers.

The competition contributes to some of the targets of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact for Refugees , which include improving working conditions for migrant workers and positively influencing public narratives on migration.

The competition is supported by the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Organisation of Employers, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Federation of Journalists, Equal Times, Solidarity Centre, and Migrant Forum in Asia. It is organized with the support of the European Union funded Global Action to Improve the Recruitment Framework of Labour Migration  (REFRAME) project, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation funded Integrated Programme on Fair Recruitment – Phase II  (FAIR II).

Cooks pictured in Matthew Loh’s article “Singapore Rancid US$1 curry: Should Singapore swallow cost of migrant workers’ meals?”


The ILO recognizes the quality of the competition entries submitted. However, the responsibility for opinions expressed and names and terms used in the competition entries rests solely with their authors, and reproduction of the entries does not constitute an endorsement by the ILO of the opinions expressed and names and terms used in them.

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