European Platform Against Trafficking in Human Beings

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News | Resources and news on the impact of Covid-19

La Strada International will keep an updated list of all resources, news and statements on the impact of Covid-19 on human trafficking and labour migration.

This information hub will be accessible by clicking on the Covid-19 tab.

It will include statements and articles like the below:

Impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19)

All 25 La Strada International member organisations follow the national safety restrictions related to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) while trying to ensure that services can continue and that trafficked persons receive adequate assistance and information. Shelters run by our members remain open but have become less accessible and assistance is reduced to a minimum... Read more

La Strada International Statement on Coronavirus

To raise awareness for the huge impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on various vulnerable groups, La Strada International issued a statement to call for attention to the challenging situation of trafficked persons and those vulnerable to trafficking, exploitation and abuse, as well as for targeted measures to ensure their protection and support and prevent their discrimination and unequal treatment... Read more

Joint statement on agri-food workers during Covid-19

28 organisations, including La Strada International, are calling for urgent measures and structural reforms to address the impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic on EU agriculture and agri-food workers. The joint statement highlights that the labour shortages demonstrate how European agriculture depends to a large extent on migrant workers, many undocumented, who make up a significant proportion of those picking our fruits and vegetables as well as packing and processing our food. What the lack of workers in the fields should also demonstrate is that labour conditions in the agri-food sector have been ignored for too long...Read more

UNDP Human Rights Due Diligence and Covid-19: Rapid Self-Assessment for Business

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has released a simple tool to help businesses to assess and manage the impact of their operations on human rights impacts.

Whilst this is by no means an exhaustive list, it does allow for a rapid reflection on the human rights risks and impacts common to many industries and is released in the specific context of COVID-19.

It is based on relevant provisions of UN Human Rights Treaties, the ILO Fundamental Conventions, and the UNGPs.

It welcomes, in particular, the reference to the prevention of any type of withdrawal of employee identification, travel papers and/or other documents and allowing for employees to return home, as permitted by national laws, decrees or
public health/emergency measures. Furthermore, the reminder to conduct human rights due diligence on any new suppliers in the supply chain... Read more.

Anti-Slavery International briefing note 'Leaving no-one behind'

Anti-Slavery International has published its briefing note: Leaving no-one behind. The briefing note highlights the effect of Covid-19 on persons who are enslaved or vulnerable to slavery. One of the impacts of Covid-19 is the effect on the global economy and increasing widespread unemployment. This means that more people are at risk of exploitation including falling into forced labour and other forms of modern slavery.

The paper provides case-studies and examples as well as policy recommendations which are based on the rapid assessments conducted. The assessed negative impacts of Covid-19 are as follows according to the report:

  • Those in slavery are facing new and increasing risks and abuses
  • Economic disruption is increasing vulnerability to enforced labour of poor individuals and communities to slavery
  • Worsening discrimination
  • Increased risks for migrant workers
  • Anti-slavery efforts are being disrupted

It calls for an inclusive response to Covid-19 designed to specifically reach the 40 million people in slavery by providing immediate measures which focus on inclusion, protection and mitigation and the long-term measures focusing on building resilience, prevention and fostering the responsibility of businesses.

Read more.

La Strada International supports the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) Call For Action which aims to shine a red light on the lack of protection for sex workers.
Sex worker communities across Europe have reported systemic exclusion from government support measures to substitute for the missing income from the impact of Covid-19. Given the financial implications from Covid-19, it is likely that an increasing number of women, migrants and LGBTIQ people will enter the industry, having lost their jobs, accumulated debts and been pushed into precarious living situations.
The Call for Action lays out the following policy recommendations:
  1. Income substitution and housing support
  2. Moratorium on fines, raids, arrests and prosecutions
  3. Health Services
  4. A long term vision for inclusion of sex workers: decriminalisation of sex work, economic reforms and regularisation of migrants

To read the policy demands in detail, click here.

The purpose of this survey - available in 25 languages - is to provide insights on the impact of the coronavirus on human trafficking. There are two versions of the survey, one aimed at survivors of trafficking and the other aimed at NGO/IGO staff. The insights gained will be used to develop short-term and mid-term policy recommendations for governments, the UN, civil society and other stakeholders and will be based on a human rights-based, gender-sensitive and victim-centered approach to trafficking in persons during and post COVID-19.

It has been recognised by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, the increased vulnerabilities caused by this pandemic, and the challenges it poses including the disruption in access to services, identification of victims of trafficking and the increasing role of technology in human trafficking.
The surveys are active until 11 May 2020:

If you are a survivor of trafficking, please click here.

If you are a staff of an NGO or IGO, please click here.

Fundamental Rights Agency wants to highlight inspiring civil society activities

The FRA wants to shed light on the amazing work being done by civil society during these times. With people across Europe being affected by the wide-ranging impacts of coronavirus, civil society has stepped up and stepped in to play a key role in providing concrete support to societies at risk. These societies can include people in institutions, older people, children of minority groups and many more.

The FRA invites organisations to share with them their actions taken to support communities affected by coronavirus. The contact email is:

Migrante Europe releases a Statement on the impact of Coronavirus

Migrante Europe, a European-wide formation of grassroots organisations with a migration background, has released their statement bringing attention to the vulnerable situation of irregular and undocumented migrants during the Covid-19 pandemic. It calls on national governments and EU institutions to ensure that their response takes into consideration migrants, refugees, and displaced people and recommends that they are regularised (as already done by Portugal), access to social and welfare services, as well as ending immigration detention and deportation.

The statement is open to signatures by clicking this link.

European Commission releases Communication on the implementation of EU provisions on asylum, return and resettlement in light of Covid-19

The Commission has recently published a set of guidelines on the implementation of relevant EU provisions in the area of asylum, return procedures and resettlement and COVID-19.

PICUM has noted that this communication is very concerning as it calls on Member States to continue with returns:

'Despite the temporary disruption caused by these necessary measures, work on return should continue, in particular by implementing those activities that can be carried out despite the restrictive measures (e.g. identification, re-documentation, enrolment in assisted voluntary return and reintegration programmes), to be ready for when return operations can be pursued. Return procedures should continue as far as possible and Member States should be ready, also with the support of Frontex, to resume return procedures and deal with the backlog when the disruption caused by the restrictive measures will be over.'

Read the full communication here

Latest news

PICUM: rights-centred approach to tackle human trafficking

PICUM – Platform for international cooperation on undocumented migration – has a new report mapping out a better way to tackle and prevent human trafficking with a particular focus on undocumented migrants.

EU proposes new law on minimum wages

The proposal for the Directive on adequate minimum wages in the European Union was published last week by the European Commission with the aim to ensure ‘that workers within the European Union earn adequate wages to guarantee adequate working and living conditions, as well as to build fair and resilient economies and societies in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals’.

Statement on EU Anti-Trafficking Day

La Strada International:
New EU Migration Pact increases risks of human trafficking

LSI joins calls for the UN to address human rights violations in Belarus

La Strada International has joined civil society from across Europe such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to call on the UN Human Rights Council to convene a Special Session to address the human rights violations committed in the lead up to the 2020 Presidential elections in Belarus.