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Failure to hold businesses accountable for labour abuses provides 'breeding ground' for worse forms of modern slavery, UN special rapporteur warns

Author: Rosa Furneaux, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Published on: 4 November 2019

"Interview: Failure to tackle worker abuse breeds modern slavery, U.N. expert warns", 1 November 2019

A failure to hold companies to account for lesser labor abuses from late wage payments to excessive overtime creates a breeding ground for the worst forms of modern slavery to thrive, the top United Nations expert on human trafficking said.

Businesses are judged only on their efforts to curb extreme forms of labor exploitation, leaving more common abuses unchecked and likely to lead to even poorer working conditions, according to U.N. special rapporteur Maria Grazia Giammarinaro...

...“Exploitation, and therefore trafficking, begins with the enabling of a breeding ground for the disregard of fundamental labor rights,” she said in a report presented to the U.N. last week, in which she referred to a “continuum of exploitation”. ...

...To identify the worst forms of labor abuse in global supply chains, addressing broader areas of exploitation is essential, Giammarinaro told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone...

...The U.N. expert pointed to laws in Britain and Australia requiring companies to report their anti-slavery efforts, but said there were concerns about firms focusing on extreme forms of exploitation instead of issues such as trade unionization...

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