Reaction: Fortress EU is creating conditions for exploitation of migrant workers

10 August 2017 - 12:00pm
Press release

Responding to the release of Verisk Maplecroft Modern Slavery Index that exposes modern slavery increasing across the EU, Owen Espley, Labour Rights campaigner at War on Want said:

“The rise in modern slavery and extreme exploitation of migrants across the EU is an inevitable consequence of “Fortress Europe”. Irregular workers are often afraid to approach the authorities to complain about exploitation through fear they'll be detained or deported, and treated as criminals.

“Harsh immigration controls, complex supply chains, weak labour rights enforcement and the rise of precarious contracts across the EU are creating conditions where the exploitation of migrant workers is inevitable. This is creating a race to the bottom that will harm everyone.  

“Labour rights enforcement must be separated from immigration control. Politicians must defend labour rights for everyone whatever their immigration status.”

Thulsi Narayanasamy, Senior Programmes Officer (Asia and the Pacific) added:

“For much of the world the line between slavery and employment has long been blurred. The modern slavery index has helped highlight the most extreme forms of slavery – child labour, bonded labour, forced servitude – but it would be a mistake for us to take our eyes off the daily exploitation within international supply chains which continues to rely on a fundamentally unjust international division of labour.

“Farmers who grow our food, garment workers who make our clothes, are in a critical situation every day, of working in difficult or dangerous conditions and are not earning enough to feed themselves. If garment workers – overwhelmingly women and people of colour – are struggling with malnutrition while working 13 hour days 7 days a week for Zara or GAP, we must acknowledge that the problem is systemic. Change cannot come until those who drive and disproportionately benefit from the system – big business – can be held accountable for their complicity in labour exploitation.”

Notes to editors:

For more information and interviews contact Marienna Pope-Weidemann on +44 7983 550 728

 

ASK YOUR MP TO END PRECARIOUS CONTRACTS

Help ensure the government guarantee basic rights at work for all workers.

Latest news

Buenaventura after the Civic Strike: What Next in the Resistance?

20 September 2017 - 12:15pm

DATE: Tuesday 26 September 2017

TIME: 7-8.30pm

LOCATION: Unite the Union, 128 Theobald's Road, London, WC1X 8TN

Join us for a panel discussion with Adriel Ruiz Galvan and Gilberto Lopez Vallecilla, two frontline community activists who were at the heart of the mobilisations which brought the city of Buenaventura to a standstill earlier this year. They have travelled to Europe to denounce the ongoing human rights abuses and to denounce the UK and Europe's 'Free-Trade' connnection to violence in the city. 

Read more

Event: Precarious Workers of the World Unite

19 September 2017 - 4:45pm

Date: Monday 25th September 2017

Time:  11:30 -12:30

Location:  Synergy Centre, Brighton,

Event: Precarious Workers of the World Unite: 

Britain is facing an epidemic of insecure work. Zero hour contracts proliferate and millions of workers are denied basic employment rights and protections. Yet across the country workers are getting organised and fighting back. Join us and hear from workers from McStrike, the Picturehouse and cleaners campaigns, and discuss how precarious workers can win.

Read more

Join the conversation

Join us next Wednesday for the first ever protest of precarious workers. Its time to #EndPrecariousContractshttps://t.co/TZVgMVzUHE 1 hour 7 min ago
Theresa May will give a #Brexit speech in Florence today - the city where 'greed was good' https://t.co/cPmn8XTGS7https://t.co/WkUJbgyCTl 2 hours 3 min ago
Can't wait for #twt2017 Check out the great sessions we've planned: https://t.co/laxKKZFfy9 @TWT_NOW #palestinehttps://t.co/CtGWF4X7SR 4 hours 40 min ago