Human Rights

  • 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…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • E.U. revealed to be using Chinese cameras linked to Uyghur Region atrocities
    The E.U. is using thermal cameras produced by a Chinese firm with links to oppression and forced labor in the Uyghur Region, a Deutsche Welle (DW) investigation has revealed. The cameras, which allow users to easily detect high temperatures and fevers, are being employed by the European Parliament and European Commission (EC) as a key…
  • Lebanon court rejects new migrant worker contract that would have signaled end to kafala
    A court in Lebanon this week suspended the implementation of a new contract system for migrant workers that would have paved the way for an end to the kafala system. Instead, the court ruled in favor of an appeal lodged by the recruitment agency federation, Domestic Worker Recruitment, which opposed the proposals set out in…
  • Grace Farms Foundation launches movement to end forced labor in architecture and construction
    This week, the non-profit organization Grace Farms Foundation released “Design for Freedom,” a report calling for the eradication of modern slavery in the architecture, construction and design industry. By addressing the systematic use of forced labor within the building supply chain, the report aims to spur an ethical movement via actionable steps for change. The…
  • Defamation suit against Andy Hall dropped by Natural Fruit
    Migrant rights activist and researcher Andy Hall has come one step closer to freedom from judicial harassment as a 300 million baht (over 9 million USD) case against him was dropped. The civil defamation case, which relates to a Finnwatch report entitled Cheap Has a High Price, was one of several filed by Thai pineapple…
  • 'The way I am is an outrage': the Indigenous Brazilian musicians taking back a burning country
    A vibrant underground of rap, metal, folk and more is thriving among Brazil’s embattled tribes, who are standing up to Bolsonaro’s environment policiesAs Brazil’s world-acclaimed biodiversity turns to ashes, President Jair Bolsonaro has praised the country as an environmental role model. “It is not only in environmental preservation that the country stands out,” the far-right…
  • Demand justice for Popi and Bongeka
    On a Friday night in May 2017, two young women were brutally murdered, sparking outcry across South Africa. Their killers have still not been brought to justice. Take action to end the impunity now. On the 12 May 2017, 24-year-old Popi Qwabe, and 28-year-old Bongeka Phungula, hailed a minibus taxi heading for a night out.…
  • New report shows reforms have failed to curb domestic slavery in Qatar
    Recent labor reforms have not changed the harrowing reality of domestic work in Qatar, a new report from Amnesty International has revealed. The report, titled “Why do you want to rest?”, draws on interviews with 105 women who had been employed as live-in domestic workers in Qatar. The women’s testimony confirms that widespread labor rights…
  • Survivors of modern slavery in the U.K. endangered by immigration policies
    Freedom United marked U.K. Anti-Slavery Day by calling for a commitment to ensure that victims of trafficking do not face punitive immigration control measures if they come forward for support, joining 50 other advocates, researchers and experts. Writing in Thomson Reuters Foundation this week, Maya Esslemont, director of After Exploitation, has highlighted how the U.K.…
  • North Korean detention system involves forced labor among other horrific abuses
     A new report from Human Rights Watch has revealed that North Korea’s pretrial detention and investigation system has uncovered grave human rights abuses, including forced labor. The report is based on interviews with eight exiled former government officials and 22 former detainees, all of whom were held in detention since Kim Jong Un came to…