FRA research published today highlights the urgent need for European governments to do more to tackle severe labour exploitation in firms, factories and farms across the EU. First-hand interviews with hundreds of exploited workers reveal the illegal practices in sectors including agriculture, construction, domestic work, hospitality, manufacturing and transport.
Many exploited workers are often invisible. But the workers’ perspectives in FRA’s report ‘Protecting migrant workers from exploitation in the EU’ show how their exploitation contributes to the supply chains of the everyday goods and services we take for granted – from the food on our plates, to the shirts on our backs.
The report reveals that over half of the workers found their jobs by word of mouth but ended up in ‘concentration camp conditions’ where ‘they keep us like dogs, like slaves’.
FRA researchers found that some of the EU’s exploited migrant workers are:
The report outlines 13 actions for EU institutions and Member States to end exploitation:
FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty says: “This report shows how exploitation often starts with false promises and fraud, describes the extreme conditions the exploited workers endure, and identifies what facilitate exploitation. But it also outlines what can be done to help exploited workers access justice.
“We hope that our focus on this issue encourages the responsible national authorities, as well as social partners, to recognise the reality of severe labour exploitation, and to take the steps necessary to create a climate of ‘zero tolerance’.”
The report draws on face-to-face and focus group interviews with 237 adult workers who have been victims of severe labour exploitation between 2013 and 2017. It focuses on Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and the UK.
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