Human Rights

  • U.N. rights chief finds Uyghur Region warrants investigation
    United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, expressed her concerns about human rights violations in the Uyghur Region at a recent meeting of the Human Rights Council. She said that, In the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, information that is in the public domain indicates the need for independent and comprehensive assessment of the…
  • Dutch trade mission to Qatar postponed over migrant labor practices
    A virtual Dutch trade mission to Qatar has been postponed due to concerns raised in the Dutch parliament and society regarding the plight of migrant workers after a shocking Guardian report last month that at least 6,500 workers had died in the past 10 years. Reuters reports: Qatar said the reported deaths were “within the…
  • Brazilian government takes landmark action against tobacco exporter
    The Brazilian government has this week taken action against a tobacco company for the first time over conditions of modern slavery on a farm in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. Labor inspectors found nine workers, five of whom were children, living in poor conditions and receiving less than a third of Brazil’s…
  • Boohoo faces U.S. import ban over modern slavery allegations
    Allegations of the use of forced labor in their supply chain have left the U.K.’s fastest-growing fashion retailer Boohoo and its suppliers facing an import ban in the U.S. Despite earning profits of £92.2 million ($127 million) in 2020, a Sunday Times investigation last year found evidence of illegally low wages and poor working conditions…
  • German companies to be held accountable for rights abuses
    Germany is set to implement a new law that would place the responsibility for labor and environmental abuses in supply chains with business. This could have a significant impact on ensuring businesses invest resources into investigating their supply chains and work with suppliers to reduce the risk of forced labor in their operations abroad. Notably,…
  • Survivors victorious in Ecuador’s first case on modern slavery in agriculture
    In what is being hailed as a legal milestone, an Ecuadorean court last month ruled that workers from an abaca plantation belonging to Japanese company Furukawa in Santo Domingo had suffered a form of modern slavery and must be compensated by the company. The case had been taken to court by 123 Afro-Ecuadorean workers in…
  • Domestic workers in Lebanon to no longer face criminal charges for leaving employers
    In what has been called a “victory” against the kafala system in Lebanon this week, employers will no longer be allowed to file criminal complaints against migrant domestic workers – including cleaners, nannies and carers – who “run away” from their workplace. But human rights experts in Lebanon say there is still a long way…
  • Libyan authorities free an estimated 156 migrants from traffickers
    Authorities in Libya have raided a secret prison this week, freeing at least 156 African migrants from human traffickers. As reported in the Associated Press, at least six traffickers were arrested and referred to prosecutors for further investigation after a migrant escaped the makeshift prison and reported to authorities that he and many others were…
  • Misusing the term “sex trafficking” doesn’t help prevent exploitation
    In an opinion piece published by openDemocracy this week, Ben Chapman-Schmidt addresses the use, and misuse, of the term ‘sex trafficking’ through the lens of the U.S. criminal justice system. Under current U.S. law, sex work and services related to the industry are heavily legislated and criminalized, impacting survivors of trafficking as well as sex…
  • Will Canada’s recognition of Uyghur genocide help tackle forced labor?
    On Monday, February 22, Canada’s parliament officially recognized the Government of China’s treatment of its Uyghur population as genocide. The motion carried unanimously though the federal Cabinet, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, abstained from the vote. This move follows January’s creation of seven federal measures to address human rights violations in China, including a ‘Xinjiang…
  • Schoolgirls right to call for proper sex education
    Young people are right to demand the protection that comprehensive relationships and sex education affords. Source / read more: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/schoolgirls-right-to-call-for-proper-sex-education-20210221-p574fh.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_feed
  • Chocolate companies face new charges of child slavery
    Exploited on cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast, eight Malian survivors of child exploitation and human trafficking have launched a new federal legal class action in the U.S. against chocolate industry giants, Nestlé, Cargill, Barry Callebaut, Mars, Olam, Hershey, and Mondelēz. This is the latest action in a long legal battle for justice in U.S. courts.…
  • Do anti-trafficking apps help trafficking survivors?
    While a growing number of apps claim to stop human trafficking and support survivors, many are failing to reach the people that need them most. When Kelvin Lim had the idea of designing an app where members of the Malaysian public could report suspected cases of human trafficking, it seemed like an ingenious and effective…
  • Saudi employer found guilty of murdering domestic worker
    A rare ruling this week found a Saudi woman guilty of abusing and murdering Abiron Begum, a migrant domestic worker. A Saudi Arabian court sentenced Ayesha Al Jizani to death for murdering Begum in March 2019, who travelled from Bangladesh to work as a maid in Jizani’s household. Jizani’s husband and son also faced repercussions…
  • Landmark ruling by European rights court orders U.K. to compensate trafficking victims
    On February 16, 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the United Kingdom had violated the rights of two Vietnamese men by charging them for drug offences when they were children, despite signs that they had been victims of trafficking. The two men, identified as Mr V.C.L. and Mr A.N., had been…
  • In Brazil, banking bureaucracy leads to delayed justice
    In Brazil, two Bolivian women who had been forced to stitch clothes for months without pay in Sao Paolo were successful in pressing charges against the trafficker but then ran into a problem. Lacking the required paperwork, they had no bank accounts in Brazil. They therefore had no means to safeguard their hard-won compensation of…
  • Young girl forced into marriage failed by authorities
    Authorities in Pakistan are coming under fire for failing to act after a 12-year-old girl was reportedly abducted, chained up for six months and forced to marry a 29-year-old man. As the Guardian reports, the case is now being examined as part of a government inquiry ordered by prime minister Imran Khan into the forced…
  • Sex workers at risk of trafficking in Sierra Leone
    “It’s a job that can cost them their lives.” – Tyson Conteh, Africa Eye Makeni in Sierra Leone is home to over 1,000 sex workers, many of them young women orphaned by the civil war and the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Many are at risk of abuse, trafficking and worse. The BBC’s Africa Eye recently reported…
  • Tainted palm oil blocked by cautious buyers
    U.S. action against palm oil tainted with forced labor has triggered a number of palm oil buyers to block Malaysian palm oil companies, FGV Holdings and Sime Darby Plantations, from their supply chains. The U.S. ban on palm oil imports from FGV and Sime Darby, officially known as a withhold release order (WRO), was issued…
  • How we talk about modern slavery matters
    Is modern slavery a disease like the coronavirus? Is it a “stain” on otherwise spotless companies’ reputations? Dr. Ras and Dr. Gregoriou, who co-wrote a 2019 paper on metaphors in corporate modern slavery statements (MSS), argue in openDemocracy that this is how the corporate world views the issue and consider how problematic metaphors continue to…
  • Potential trafficking victims detained instead of supported
    As the U.K. government continues to oppose the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill, new data reveals that, over a period of 21 months, immigration authorities have detained thousands of potential trafficking victims. NGOs After Exploitation and Women for Refugee Women obtained this data from the U.K. Home Office. The data shows that between January 2019…
  • Does venture capitalism harm more than help anti-trafficking efforts?
    Contributors at openDemocracy have begun a policy debate on the effects of philanthrocapitalism on the anti-trafficking field. Venture capitalism has infused anti-trafficking initiatives with much funding but at what cost? Some campaigners find that philanthrocapitalism’s reach is too far. openDemocracy contributors Sebastian Köhn, Kavita Ramdas and Laine Romero-Alston argue that philanthrocapitalism, particularly venture funding, has…
  • Tackle modern slavery by empowering workers
    New findings from a report published last week, “Developing Freedom: The Sustainable Development Case for Ending Modern Slavery, Forced Labour and Human Trafficking”, spotlight a fundamental element of preventing modern slavery and boosting economies: ensuring workers have increased control of their labor and income. Considering the global economic impacts of COVID-19 that are creating increased…
  • North Korean prisons rife with forced labor
    In a report this week, the U.N. Human Rights Office has drawn attention to the horrific conditions in North Korean prisons, finding evidence of torture and forced labor that could amount to crimes against humanity. The report drew attention to forced labor that persists in prisons in North Korea “which may amount to the crime…
  • Regions Bank of Alabama takes a stand against prison slavery
    Regions Bank, the largest bank in Alabama, announced its plan to end its partnership with CoreCivic by not renewing their contract that is set to expire in 2023. CoreCivic is one of the largest housing facilities companies specializing in private prisons and detention centers. CoreCivic faces strong accusations of prison forced labor, separating families, and…
  • Survivors call to lead on policy-making
    The first global alliance of survivors-turned-advocates have this week demanded countries enable survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking to play a leading role in programs and policies tackling the spectrum of crimes that fall under the modern slavery umbrella term. The 21-member International Survivors of Trafficking Advisory Council, set up by the human rights…
  • India’s caste-based “customary” labor considered form of slavery
    Under India’s ancient social hierarchy system, Dalits – who are considered to be at the bottom of the caste system – continue to work for little or no pay in the homes of upper-caste families in Karnataka state under a custom called “bitti chakri”. Bitti chakri is a form of customary bonded labor performed exclusively…
  • Victims categorized under ‘unknown exploitation’ less likely to access support
    Potential victims of trafficking referred to the U.K.’s system for identifying people who have experienced trafficking – the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) – and categorized under ‘unknown exploitation’ are less likely to be recognized as confirmed victims of trafficking, impacting their access to statutory support. The NRM categorizes several types of exploitation: sexual exploitation, labor…
  • Filipino domestic workers trafficked from UAE to Syria
    Dozens of Filipina domestic workers who were recruited to work in the United Arab Emirates have been trafficked to Syria, subjected to physical and sexual abuse and denied their salaries by their employers. One such domestic worker is Josephine Tawaging, who arrived in Dubai but was locked in a crowded, dirty dormitory by her recruitment…
  • Biden orders DOJ to end use of private prisons
    President Biden has ordered the Department of Justice to end its reliance on private prisons, issuing an Executive Order on Tuesday. This now instructs the Department of Justice to not renew contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities, essentially returning the Department to its policy at the end of the Obama administration. “This is a…