Severe labour exploitation: workers moving within or into the European Union - Summary

Worker exploitation is not an isolated or marginal phenomenon. But despite its pervasiveness in everyday life, severe labour exploitation and its adverse effects on third-country nationals and EU citizens – as workers, but also as consumers – have to date not received much attention from researchers. This report identifies risk factors contributing to such exploitation and discusses means of improving the situation and highlights the challenges EU institutions and Member States face in making the right of workers who have moved within or into the EU to decent working conditions a reality.

The extensive fieldwork and desk research carried out by FRA is the first to look comprehensively into various criminal forms of severe labour exploitation of workers who move from one EU Member State to another or from a third country. It aims to fill the knowledge gap, thus challenging the current climate of implicit acceptance of severe labour exploitation. This research aims to support EU institutions and Member States in preventing severe labour exploitation, monitoring situations where severe labour exploitation occurs and making victims’ right to have access to justice a reality.