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Exploitation of Migrant Workers in Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania: Uncovering the Links Between Recruitment, Irregular Employment Practices and Labour Trafficking

NCJ Number
Natalia Ollus, Anniina Jokinen, Matti Joutsen
Date Published
363 pages
This research on the exploitation of migrant workers in Finland, Sweden, Estonia, and Lithuania examines recruitment methods for migrant workers in countries of origin (Estonia and Lithuania) and destination (Finland and Sweden); whether certain practices increase a migrant's risk of being trafficked for forced labor; means of preventing labor migrants from being exploited; and employers' roles in preventing trafficking for forced labor.
The Estonian research found that migrant laborers were recruited through personal relationships and social networks, the internet, and employment agencies. Generally, no method for obtaining a migrant labor job prevented employer exploitation, such as non-payment of wages, manipulation of agreements on wages, and poor working conditions. The Lithuanian research found that the major channels for employment abroad were on-line advertisements, friends or acquaintances, and labor exchange services. As in the Estonian research, no recruitment method guaranteed that employer exploitation would not occur in the destination country. The Finnish study found that most migrant workers coming to the country came to escape poverty in their home countries, and they were willing to compromise on working conditions as long as they could earn more in Finland than in their home country. The study focuses on the restaurant and cleaning sectors of employment. The Swedish report focuses on the restaurant and berry-picking industries, which often involve employer threats, isolation, surveillance, and the confiscation of documents, as well as high fees charged by recruiting agencies. Among the recommendations for prevention in all four countries are an increase in public information on the nature and risk of labor exploitation as well as worker rights; improved government monitoring of employment recruitment practices and sanctions for law violations; improved monitoring and sanctioning of employers for illegal employment practices; and the provision of victim assistance services. Three included full country reports (Estonia, Sweden, and Finland) and research questionnaires


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