Exploitative conditions in agricultural work often go unreported. High dependence on employers, short-term contracts and the fear of losing work are serious deterrents to reporting abusive practices. Migrant workers are significantly more vulnerable than non-migrant workers, as they often do not possess language skills, support networks or knowledge of their rights or available social services. In the context of a pandemic that has caused a global economic downturn, restricted mobility of regular labour migration of seasonal workers and led to reduced oversight of labour standards, the risk of exploitation and human trafficking in agriculture is even higher.
A joint IOM-VIDC online workshop on this topic was held on October 15th, 2020 in the framework of the annual conference of the Austrian Task Force on Combating Human Trafficking on the occasion of the EU Anti-Trafficking Day. Experts from the Chamber of Agricultural Workers of Lower Austria, the Sezonieri Campaign and the European Migration Network discussed the system of agricultural work in Austria and the vulnerabilities of workers, particularly due to recent measures against COVID-19. Together with the participants, several recommendations were formulated to counteract exploitation in agriculture.
Please find a detailed report in German here.
A recording of the workshop is available on VIDC's YouTube channel here.