Agri a 'high risk' sector for human trafficking

Sarah Collins

Agriculture has been identified by the Council of Europe as a high-risk sector for human trafficking.

While most human trafficking targets women and girls for sexual exploitation, growing numbers of men are being trafficked for work, the human rights body said.

Trafficking for labour exploitation was the predominant form of exploitation in Belgium, Cyprus, Georgia, Portugal, Serbia and the UK last year, the Council's expert group against trafficking (GRETA) said in its annual report for 2017.

However, the report says it is difficult to detect the exact number of people being exploited in the agriculture sector - and sectors, such as construction and textiles, where informal labour is common - because of the high numbers of irregular migrants also working in those sectors.

Most of the victims of labour trafficking in the agriculture sector were men, the report said.

A GRETA report on Ireland last year, which pointed to new trends in recruitment for pop-up car washes and trafficking in women for sham marriages, also revealed allegations of abuse of migrant workers on board Irish fishing vessels.

Inspections by the Workplace Relations Commission led to four prosecutions against whitefish vessel owners and one case of suspected human trafficking.

GRETA called for Irish authorities to review a 2016 scheme for irregular workers to make sure it contains sufficient safeguards against trafficking and exploitation of fishermen.

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