Human trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation is, unfortunately, quite a common phenomenon. Currently, opportunities to travel to other countries are significantly limited, but the problem of labor exploitation remains.
Appeals to the National Hotline for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking and Gender Discrimination indicate that the search for possible employment opportunities abroad, and in particular in EU member states, is very relevant. Given the complexity of the economic situation, vulnerabilities further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a high risk that potential migrant workers will be willing to accept even risky offers, and that unscrupulous employers will exploit the vulnerability of workers.
Therefore, it is very important to respond to these challenges, both at the level of the governments of individual states, and in close cooperation between them. Protection and provision of rights and access to services for migrant and seasonal workers should be a mandatory item on the agenda of governments.
In June 2020, the European Parliament adopted Resolution 2020/2664(RSP) on the European protection of cross-border and seasonal workers in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. The resolution lists a number of difficulties and challenges faced by such workers during the crisis.
The European Parliament called on the European Commission and EU member states to take a number of measures aimed at protecting and improving the situation of such workers. Among other things, the European Parliament called for:
- lift all travel restrictions, discriminatory detention and quarantine restrictions on cross-border and seasonal workers as soon as possible to avoid labor shortages in key sectors and benefit workers, while ensuring their health and safety;
- implement measures to ensure adequate protection of cross-border and seasonal workers from COVID-19 and its consequences, including easy access to testing, and information on risks and precautions in a language they understand;
- support the work of social partners and civil society organizations active in this field to ensure that any workers who remain in the EU as a result of the crisis have adequate and immediate access to public services, trade union support, decent housing, protective equipment, food and medical services;
- to ensure, in the context of COVID-19, the equal treatment of third-country seasonal workers with EU citizens, as specified in Directive 2014/36/EU, so that such workers have the same labor and social rights as EU citizens;
- immediately ensure the proper implementation and implementation of current EU legislation regarding the rights of cross-border and seasonal workers, especially regarding the right to equal pay for equal work, including through national and cross-border coordinated and joint labor inspections;
- strengthen the capacity of labor inspectors and prioritize sectors where workers are at risk;
- carry out an urgent review of the overall situation regarding employment and labor protection of cross-border and seasonal workers, including the role of temporary work agencies, recruitment agencies, other intermediaries and subcontractors in order to identify gaps in protection and the need to review the existing legal framework.
The text of the resolution can be read in more detail at link.