While discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, migration status, gender and disability creates “conditions conducive to trafficking with impunity”, the informality and isolation of agricultural work expose groups specific to this trade.
“Groups in already vulnerable situations such as refugees and internally displaced persons are at particular risk of being trafficked for the purpose of forced labour,” Special Rapporteur Siobhán Mullally told the UN Human Rights Council. on human trafficking.
According to the independent UN expert, the absence of a solid regulatory environment or measures to enforce labor standards creates “a situation conducive to trafficking”. These two shortcomings ultimately guarantee “the impunity of recruiters and employers who can recruit refugees or displaced persons under pretexts”.
Women exposed to exploitation and abuse in the agricultural sector
The servo mechanisms are known. Refugees and IDPs are often at risk of debt bondage, including “recruitment-related debts, or debts to an employer for deductions to cover housing, food, or tools used for work.” “.
During the examination of her report at the Palais des Nations, the Expert also expressed concern about the fate of women, who are exposed to exploitation and abuse in the agricultural sector. These include specific risks of sexual harassment, sexual violence and trafficking for forced labour.
Practices such as the payment of wages to the male head of household, when several family members are employed as agricultural workers, increase the isolation, dependence and vulnerability of female migrant workers to exploitation. In situations where women’s agricultural work is invisible, the gaps in assistance and protection and measures to prevent trafficking are even greater.
Furthermore, the increase in child labor is a major concern.
“Despite the global commitment to end child labor by 2025, there has been an increase of 8.4 million child laborers worldwide over the past four years,” Ms. Mullally said.
The agricultural sector represents 75% of the work of children aged 5 to 14
Agricultural work is a recognized entry point into child labor, accounting for more than 75% of child labor between the ages of 5 and 14.
Measures related to the Covid 19 pandemic, limited access to social protection and lack of access to education and decent work for families, combined with poverty and inequality, have contributed to accelerating this trend, according to the Expert.
The children of seasonal migrant workers are also particularly exposed to the risk of exploitation. Settled on farms located in rural and isolated areas, the children often have no access to education. A situation that feeds the cycle of exploitation in which their parents already live.
“The risks of child labor in agriculture, including the specific risks of child trafficking, are particularly high in situations of internal displacement, loss of livelihoods and disruption of schooling, limited access social protection or family support networks,” argued the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons.