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Slavery News Weekly: 21 July 2017

July. 21, 2017 / In the news Erin Phelps

Each week the Freedom Fund compiles the most insightful and timely news stories about modern slavery. Check out what we’re reading among this week’s top slavery articles.

Opium numbs the pain for Indian pickers exploited on Italian farms
Thomson Reuters Foundation, 19 July 2017
Activists say that many of the 30,000 Indians working in agriculture in Italy’s Pontine Marshes have faced exploitation and debt bondage over the past decade. A growing number of these labourers are taking drugs such as opium and heroin to cope with long hours, poor conditions and very low pay.

Army general among scores convicted of human trafficking
Bangkok Post, 19 July 2017
A court in Thailand has convicted scores of defendants, including a high-ranking army officer, on charges of human trafficking and enslavement of migrants. The migrants, most of whom were from Bangladesh or Myanmar, were lured to Thailand for work. Instead, they were enslaved in the Thai fishing industry and imprisoned, tortured and held for ransom in the jungle.

Why are migrant workers’ passports still being held hostage in the U.A.E.?
Pacific Standard Magazine, 17 July 2017
Despite 2002 laws that abolished the practice, multiple big and small organizations in the U.A.E. continue to hold the passports of foreign employees. Migrant workers often fear retaliation from employers and feel they have no choice but to hand over their documents, leading human rights activists to be concerned that the law “only works on paper”.

India’s low-paid garment workers seek $7.6 mln compensation
Thomson Reuters Foundation, 17 July 2017
Tens of thousands of workers in Tamil Nadu’s textile and garment industry are seeking millions of dollars in compensation after a court ruled they had long been grossly underpaid. More than 150 claims have been filed against the manufacturers alleging they have not obeyed a 2016 court ruling that ordered a pay increase for garment workers.

House passes sweeping overhaul of law to combat human trafficking
USA Today, 12 July 2017
In a rare bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives has approved a sweeping reauthorization of the nation’s most comprehensive law to combat human trafficking. The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act, introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), allocates funding toward programs focussed on trafficking prevention and survivor support.

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Photo credit: Brent Lewin/Freedom Fund

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