When we talk of international business travellers, we think of "white collar" businessmen or diplomats, sent by multinational corporations or governments but if fact this is not a true picture. With increasing globalisation, the picture should include technical and manual workers who may work for small enterprises, and the work being carried out may be in new sectors, not just the traditional extractive and construction industries.
While it is very difficult to establish precise figures, the number of workers travelling abroad to take up assignments is staggering. For example, there are nearly 600 000 foreign workers in China alone, according to the official census in 2010 that counted them for the first time, and over 700 000 Chinese workers who are on assignment abroad.
These workers, just like any others, should be protected from harm as, according to Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, “Safety and health at work is not only a sound economic policy - it is a basic human right”.