Hear the Pitch
Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are recruited each year to perform seasonal manual labor in the US under a variety of visa programs. However, a worker’s visa is tied to their employer, and if they experience abuse such as fraud or wage theft, they cannot leave this employer. While fraud-reporting resources do exist, information on recruitment fraud incidents is rarely made public and thus is not available to other guest workers.
To combat exploitation, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (CDM) created Contratados, an online platform that provides key information to enable migrant workers to make informed migration and work choices. Through this platform, workers share anonymous information on workplace and recruitment abuses, and access resources educating them on their rights and equipping them to address abuses.
Contratados culls publicly available data and puts it alongside worker-generated information, including Yelp-style reviews that migrant workers write based on their personal experiences. This increased transparency in the recruitment system helps prevent migrant worker trafficking and exploitation, and empowers workers to recognize, prevent, and denounce rights violations.
- Hundreds of thousands of workers are recruited to work as guestworkers in the US each year. As immigration enforcement programs expand, employer use of the these recruitment programs is exploding, as much as tenfold in some industries and localities.
- Due to a lack of crucial information, one in 10 workers surveyed reported that they were charged a fee for a nonexistent job.
- Vetted employers pay to post jobs on Contratados, providing workers with fair and safe job opportunities.
- Partnered with organizations in Turkey to launch a customized version for Syrian refugees in Turkey
- Featured in scholarly articles such as the forthcoming, “Transformative Technology for Migrant Workers” by Bassina Farbenblum, Laurie Berg, and Angela Kintominas
- Awards: Ms. Foundation for Women Gloria Award, Award of Note from the Berger-Marks Foundation, Peter M. Cicchino Award for Outstanding Public Advocacy
- Media: NPR, LatinosUSA, Business Insider, Christian Science Monitor, La Opinión, and more
Contratados currently partners with migrant worker organizations throughout the US, Mexico, and Central America to distribute information about its platform. The organization also works with government agencies to distribute information about the site to passport applicants and consulate visitors.
Contratados has received funding from several organizations:
- Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for information distribution
- MacArthur Foundation, support for outreach and training on the use of Contratados
- AFLCIO, several of its affiliate unions, and the Solidarity Center, to advocate on behalf of workers in various visa categories
Contratados seeks to achieve the following goals:
- Create a job board on the platform to connect low-wage guest workers with authorized employment opportunities requiring visas
- Scale operations to reach additional guest workers and employers in other industries, including care and education
To reach the goals mentioned above, Contratados seeks partnerships to:
- Gain legal review and drafting support
- Provide additional tech development and digital security support to develop and test new features and ensure ongoing security of the Contratados site
Contratados has provided more than 500,000 workers with critical rights information and resources.
Baltimore, MD, USA
- Rachel Micah-Jones Executive Director, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.