Combating forced labor in a pandemic

Last March, a recommendation to the Government to adhere to a protocol of the International Labor Organization (ILO), which came into force in November 2016, but which Portugal had not yet adopted, on “ Forced Labor ”, which is to say, work that is performed under duress and involuntarily.

Last March, a recommendation to the Government to adhere to a protocol of the International Labor Organization (ILO), which came into force in November 2016, but which Portugal had not yet adopted, on “ Forced Labor ”, which is to say, work that is performed under duress and involuntarily.

Portugal's adherence to this ILO directive, which has been in force for four years, is still being delayed, since it is absolutely necessary to take effective measures to prevent, eliminate, protect and compensate the victims of forced labor, promoting the access to justice, exemplarily punishing offenders and contributing to the worldwide eradication of this scourge.

For the simple reason that it is estimated that around the world there are, large tens of millions of men, women and children, victims of this practice of “Modern slavery”!

And these are the most vulnerable people in society, such as rural workers, migrants, domestic servants, sailors, women and girls forced into prostitution and others who are also abused and exploited and receive little or nothing for all the work. explored that they do. In fact, we are talking, according to data presented at the United Nations in 2018, of about 26 thousand people in Portugal (only official figures, which are admitted to be much more), in this unthinkable scourge, and in our Portuguese Speaking Countries (PALOP) the numbers reach almost one million people, being that in this community, Portugal is the fourth country where the scourge assumes the highest incidence, just behind Brazil (which percentage is the one with the lowest incidence), Angola and Mozambique, we are however ahead of countries such as Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde or East Timor.

The ILO estimates that forced labor generates an additional $ 150 billion in illegal profits each year. Profits that mostly do not pay taxes, do not contribute to national wealth, that do not generate value and that only benefit a few and harm and restrict large tens of millions of people worldwide.
So we are already late and four years late, but it is better late, certainly, than ever before, and the Government really has to adhere to this ILO directive

But these are our global concerns, and since there was only one recommendation. Portugal's adhesion has not yet occurred, this sad reality assumes in the current pandemic days that we live, a greater concern and a real drama, which increases considerably the number of unprotected people at work, who do not have access to any lay-off, teleworking or any measure of family support or illness, from the social security budget.

And now Portugal? Three months after the parliamentary discussion to urge the Government to act in this matter, it is urgent to act, because with the difficulty of the present times, the phenomenon has become more acute, and this is the time to be even more attentive and active with the injustices that all sad days occur and multiply in the fight against the end of forced labor, giving more life to millions of men and women imprisoned for this “modern slavery” without any social protection.

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