21.10.2020

Uncovering the links between labour trafficking, exploitation and economic crimes

In recent years, cases of labour trafficking and exploitation have been uncovered around the world, as well as in Europe in sectors such as construction, restaurants, cleaning and agriculture. Outsourcing of work or services through subcontractors/suppliers or use of temporary workers in flexible employment relationships heighten the risk of labour exploitation. The working conditions in lengthy subcontracting chains might be difficult for companies to uncover. Everything may seem legal on paper but in reality, exploited migrant workers might work long hours in poor conditions, which are below national standards, and they have little or no possibility to change their situation. The issue of safeguarding workers’ rights is even more pressing due to the current global COVID-19 pandemic which has effects reaching far and wide. Many its consequences will disproportionately affect the most vulnerable members of our societies. To protect the rights of migrant workers both businesses and law enforcement and inspection authorities have the responsibility to address the risk of labour trafficking and exploitation and ensure exploited workers have access to remedy.

The analytical tool “Shady business. Uncovering the business model of labour exploitation” focuses on uncovering the business model of labour exploitation based on analysis of concrete cases of labour exploitation and trafficking. “Uncovering labour trafficking - Investigation tool for law enforcement and checklist for labour inspectors” compiles hands-on techniques, recommendations and how-to’s for different authorities and actors who might come across labour trafficking and exploitation cases in their line work. “Navigating through your supply chain – Toolkit for prevention of labour exploitation and trafficking” provides five hands-on tools which focus on the implementation of due diligence processes and provide concrete measures to navigate and control complex supply chain networks especially in local, national, and intra-European contexts. The toolkit was developed in close dialogue with business representatives and is supplemented by a “Normative Framework Guide - Responsibility of Businesses Concerning Human Rights, Labour Exploitation and Human Trafficking”. Both sets of tools and their key recommendations are summarised in two policy briefs.

List of publications

  • Shady business. Uncovering the business model of labour exploitation. (available in 5 languages: English, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Bulgarian)
  • Uncovering labour trafficking – Investigation tool for law enforcement and checklist for labour inspectors (available in 5 languages: English, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Bulgarian)
  • Navigating through your supply chain – Toolkit for prevention of labour exploitation and trafficking (available in 5 languages: English, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Bulgarian)
  • Normative Framework Guide – Responsibility of Businesses Concerning Human Rights, Labour Exploitation and Human Trafficking (available in English only)
  • Policy brief / “New tools for businesses to improve commitment to end labour exploitation and trafficking in local labour supply chains" (available in 5 languages: English, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Bulgarian)
  • Policy brief / “How to uncover labour trafficking and exploitation? The route to a successful investigation" (available in 5 languages: English, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Bulgarian)

EU ISF-P funded FLOW project (Flows of illicit funds and victims of human trafficking: uncovering the complexities 2018 - 2020) focused on analysing the business model of labour exploitation and the links between labour trafficking, exploitation and economic crimes in Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Bulgaria.

Coordinated by the European institute for crime prevention and control, affiliated with the UN (HEUNI) and the project partners – University of Tartu, Ministry of the Interior of Latvia and the Center for the Study of Democracy – the project developed tools to enhance capacity of businesses and authorities to detect, investigate and prevent cases of labour exploitation.

More information on the FLOW project website

 

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