New report on the plight of sanitation workers in the developing world

Millions of sanitation workers in the developing world are forced to work in conditions that endanger their health and lives, and violate their dignity and human rights, according to a report released today.
The report ‘Health, Safety and Dignity of Sanitation Workers. An Initial Assessment‘, highlights examples of good practice, where sanitation work has been officially acknowledged and formalized. It also lays out four key action areas for counties and development partners:

  • reform of policy, legislation and regulation;
  • developing and adopting operational guidelines for workers;
  • advocacy and empowerment of sanitation workers to claim their rights;
  • and strengthening evidence on the status of sanitation work and good practice.


It is jointly authored by the International Labour Organisation, WaterAid, World Bank and World Health Organization to raise awareness of the de-humanising working conditions and to push for change. It is the most extensive global study to date on the issue, and part of a growing body of work on sanitation workers.

Download the report here.