Critical Awareness

  • Qatar urged to follow through with its labor reforms
    In a new briefing, Amnesty International has urged Qatar to “not drop the ball” on workers rights and to ensure its promising labor reforms are properly enforced. Qatar has come under increased international scrutiny for its treatment of migrant workers ever since it was awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In common with many of…
  • Modern slavery risk high at Australia’s berry and citrus farms
    Berry and citrus top the list of produce with the highest modern slavery risk in Australia, a new report from supermarket chain Woolworths has found. The report, the first produced as a requirement of the 2018 Modern Slavery Act, identified 332 fruit and vegetable suppliers in the Woolworths supply chain that presented a modern slavery…
  • Pope Francis: Uyghurs are a “persecuted” people
     In the latest high-profile recognition of the events taking place in the Uyghur Region, the Pope has acknowledged for the first time that the Uyghur people face persecution in China. Francis’s comments come in his new book Let Us Dream: the Path to a Better Future, which groups the Uyghurs with the Rohingya and the…
  • Sex workers continue to be excluded from anti-trafficking movement
    Writing in openDemocracy’s Palermo Protocol 20th anniversary special last week, the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) highlighted that the conflation of human trafficking and sex work continues to harm sex workers. At the core of this dispute is the “Swedish Model,” which attempts to regulate sex work by criminalizing…
  • U.K. ministers urged to change policy that facilitates exploitation of overseas domestic workers
    Government ministers in the U.K. are being urged to change a 2012 policy that removed the rights of holders of overseas domestic worker visas to change employer and renew their stay, making them extremely vulnerable to exploitation. As reported in The Independent this week, despite amendments in 2016 allowing domestic workers to change employers within…
  • Tesco, Lidl, Asda, McDonald’s, Nando’s Profit from Deforestation
    The Guardian UK reports the following in: Revealed: UK supermarket and fast food chicken linked to deforestation in BrazilSupermarkets and fast food outlets are selling chicken fed on imported soya linked to thousands of forest fires and at least 300 sq miles (800 sq km) of tree clearance in the Brazilian Cerrado, a joint cross-border…
  • The Great Deception
    What do all the following have in common: Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, The Lottery, Slot machines and gambling, have in common? The answer is they all reach the same part of your brain; the part that wants to believe the better life is just within reach.
  • Ben & Jerry’s pledges to pay cocoa farmers living wage
    American ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s has announced that they are committing to paying a living income to cocoa farmers at the beginning of their supply chain in West Africa. The move comes amid renewed scrutiny of the living and working conditions cocoa farmers face in the region, which produces 70 percent of the…
  • Freedom United campaign success as Costa Rica ratifies Forced Labour Protocol
    Costa Rica has become the 47th nation to ratify the International Labour Organization’s Forced Labour Protocol. On Monday, the country deposited the instrument of ratification and joined Argentina, Panama, Suriname, Jamaica in strengthening the Latin America and Caribbean region’s resolve against forced labor. Costa Rica has since late last year been a key target of…
  • Babies stolen on Nairobi’s streets feed thriving child trafficking black market
    This week, the BBC published a report detailing a year-long investigation into child trafficking in Kenya, which has found that vulnerable women in Nairobi were having their children snatched away from them and sold for massive profits. The price of a child stolen from a homeless mother ranges from US$460 for a girl to US$730…
  • Indian factory workers supplying major brands allege routine exploitation
    A BBC investigation this week uncovered claims of exploitation made by Indian factory workers that supply British supermarket chains Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Marks and Spencer, as well as fashion brand Ralph Lauren. Women working at these factories report that they are made to work continuously, often through the night, and are not afforded time to…
  • MJD 59,169
    If you remember your high-school physics, free energy is the energy available to do work. Energy is conserved, but free energy is not. For example, when a heavy ball drops from a height, the free energy stays roughly constant (ignoring drag) right until the moment of impact. The amount of free energy lost via inelastic…
  • Live-in domestic workers in Spain treated like “modern-day slaves”
    Global lockdowns as a result of COVID-19 have resulted in some live-in domestic workers being trapped with their employers. In Spain, a country with the most domestic workers in Europe, the majority of these workers live with their employers – increasing their risk of exploitation. Isabella and Maria (not their real names) describe in a…
  • Saudi Kafala labor reforms met with skepticism
    This week, Saudi officials announced reforms to the country’s kafala system that would allow seven million low-income workers to exit the country or change sponsors without asking for their boss’s permission—a move that has been met with cautious optimism by those affected. However, as reported by DW, these reforms do not nearly cover the 34…
  • Fears that modern slavery is growing in South Australia as a result of pandemic
    With the balance of power between employer and employee widening during the COVID-19 pandemic, experts in South Australia are worried that worker exploitation is increasing. As reported by ABC Australia, in South Australia’s Riverland region, workers have allegedly only been earning between $8 to $10 an hour picking fruit in recent months. In a report…
  • Progress stalls on sex workers’ rights in India
    Do you think India should give sex workers rights and aid, or just aid? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!   “I need work, not aid.” – Mumtaz, sex worker living in Mumbai. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reduced sex workers’ income, leaving some unable to provide for themselves and their families. Supiya, a…
  • 39 rescued from modern slavery in Brazilian gold mine
    Thirty-nine people have been rescued after a raid on an illegal gold mine in northern Brazil—an operation whose owner was already known to labor inspectors as a modern slavery offender. Raimunda Oliveira Nunes is on Brazil’s “dirty list,” which the government has since 2004 used to identify and sanction those who profit from modern slavery,…
  • DONATE TO PROTECT CHILDREN IN YEMEN
    Over 12 million children in Yemen were already in danger. Now, coronavirus threatens their lives too.Yemen is facing a major humanitarian crisis. A devastating conflict has left children and families in urgent need of food, water and medical supplies. Currently, 1.71 million children are internally displaced. No place in Yemen is safe for children. Unicef…
  • MJD 59,163
    Moore’s Law was first proposed in 1965, then again in revised form in 1975. Assuming an 18-month average doubling period for transistor density (it was ~1 year early on, and lately has been ~3y) there have been about 40 doublings since the first IC in 1959. If you ever go to Intel headquarters in San…
  • Sudanese migrant workers tricked into work in war-torn Libya
    Hundreds of Sudanese men recruited to work as security guards in the United Arab Emirates late last year were deceived into working amid conflict and violence in Libya, Human Rights Watch reported this week. Black Shield Security Services, an Emirati security services company, arranged for the men’s travel to the capital Abu Dhabi, where they…
  • U.S. immigration agenda harming progress against human trafficking
    Despite ostensibly prioritizing fighting human trafficking, the Trump administration’s hardline stance on immigration is actually making the task more difficult, victim advocates and counter-trafficking lawyers say. As reported in TIME this week, policy changes have increased barriers to victim protection, complicated investigations into trafficking networks, and warped Americans’ perspectives of what the problem looks like.…
  • Two more Indonesian fishing crew die on board Chinese fishing fleet
    Two Indonesian men have died on board a Chinese fishing fleet that faces allegations of forced labor and illegal fishing. Mongabay reports that one of the men, Saleh Anakota, died on board Long Xing 629, a boat that has become the focus of international outcry after the deaths of four other Indonesian men who fell…
  • Apparel brands testify in U.K. parliament on their links to forced labor in Uyghur Region
    Fashion, retail, and technology brands were this morning called to give evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee of the U.K. parliament in a hearing held to determine “the extent to which businesses in the U.K. are exploiting the forced labor of Uyghurs.” Freedom United joined 30 other members of the Coalition to…
  • Freedom United and Lift the Ban partners deliver petition to U.K. government
    Freedom United and nearly 250 other organizations in the Lift the Ban coalition this week called on the U.K. government to end its policy of banning asylum seekers from working. The Freedom United community, along with our Lift the Ban partners, has added over 180,000 signatures on a petition that was submitted on Wednesday to…