Better understanding and better partnerhsips to fight labour trafficking in Europe

ITUC concluded the Fine Tune project that forcused on labour trafficking in the EU - group cases of exploitation, internet recruitment and gender aspects. The project lasted 3 years between 2012-2015.

The FINE TUNE project brought together various partners from across Europe - Anti-Slavery International, UK; Churches Commission for Migrants in Europe, Belgium; AIDrom, Romania; Caritas, Lithuania; MRCI, Irland; La Strada Czech Republic; Lefö, Austria; UGT, Spain; Service Union United PAM, Finland.

It supported cooperation between trade unions, NGOs, faith based organisations and partners to curb trafficking for forced labour in a number of key EU countries – Austria, Ireland, Spain, Finland, Lithuania, Romania and Czech Republic. Traditionally, more focus has been put on trafficking for sexual exploitation, leading to a lower level of capacity of different actors to deal cases of labour trafficking.

FINE TUNE provided with space to link various group of stakeholders of the anti-trafficking action such as specialized and non-specialized professionals and volunteers from trade unions, faith-based organizations and NGOs, police, governmental departments, judiciary, labour inspectors. The project also undertook three thematic mapping exercises (group cases of trafficking, internet recruitment and gender aspects of labour trafficking).

During the project, three EU wide workshops were held in Madrid in 2013, in Bucharest in 2013 and in Prague in 2015, two EU Fora in Vilnius in 2013 and in Brussels in 2015 as well as 17 national workshops between 2013-2015. The events aimed at sharing knowledge and developing strategies on three thematic common areas of concern. Findings were included in the thematic papers. Regular exchange with similar initiatives and networks was undertaken throughout the project.

FINE TUNE raised awareness and understanding of the issue of trafficking for labour exploitation. The project used a networking approach to both collect and disseminate information, as well as to enhance cooperation between national and international actors working in the field of anti-trafficking.

The mapping undertaken by the FINE TUNE project confirmed the need for capacity building in the area of dealing with cases of labour trafficking. Anti-trafficking laws, policies and assistance systems are designed to deal with individual, not group victims, more often for sex victims than labour victims, and often lack sufficient gender-sensitive and gender-appropriate services for both women and men. On-line recruitment is growing and if combined with insufficient licensing and monitoring of private recruitment agencies it creates significant risk of fueling labour trafficking.
Networking between trade unions, NGOs and FBOs proved very effective since each of these constituencies contribute with distinct expertise (eg. labour law and human rights law) and provide complementary capacity to intervene and to advocate.

The project has deepened and/or broadened national partnerships between these constituencies and other actors and helped addressing concrete issues and individual cases. Partner organizations were also very active a the European level and the EU events provided a forum for exchange and discussion with national and EU policy makers on labour trafficking.

The project was timely as it coincided with policy discussion on the implementation of the EU anti-trafficking Strategy 2011-2015 as well as – at the international level – the process of negotiating and adopting the Protocol to ILO Forced Labour Convention in 2014.