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Construction workers suffer for the Olympics in Russia’, ‘Exploitation on mushroom farms in The Netherlands’, ‘Abuse in Czech asparagus field’, ‘Inhumane conditions in Italian tomato fields’, ‘Strawberry pickers in Greece shot at’ and ‘Modern slavery regime in the farming and agricultural sector in Cyprus’. This has happened right here in Europe.

La Strada International (LSI) together with 28 European partner organisations, including KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism, launches ‘Used in Europe’, a campaign to raise awareness on the issue of labour exploitation and human trafficking – on the occasion of the EU anti-trafficking day, 18 October 2014. The campaign ‘Used in Europe’ provides a unique online overview of major cases from the last decade in Europe, highlighted by NGOs, researchers and the media and gives insight into the situation in each country in Europe.

Human trafficking for labour exploitation is not a new development but until recently received little attention in Europe. Moreover identification, investigation and prosecution figures related to this crime are low. Accordingly, many Europeans believe that severe labour exploitation and human trafficking is confined to the Global South.

However, European NGOs regularly come across cases of human trafficking and labour exploitation. In 2013, a total of 1823 trafficked persons were directly assisted by the eight member organisations of La Strada International. Thousands more exploited workers were assisted by campaign partners in different parts of Europe. In 2012, the International Labour Organisation estimated that 880,000 people are in a situation of forced labour in the EU alone. In some countries, the migration model and procedures reinforce the dependency and exploitation of migrant workers.

It is time to recognise that human trafficking and labour exploitation does not only occur in the sex industry, nor does it only happen in developing countries. It is directly linked to products or services that come from inside Europe”, says Suzanne Hoff, International Coordinator of La Strada International, a European NGO Network against Human Trafficking. “Human trafficking occurs across a wide variety of sectors, such as agriculture, construction, hospitality and care work. Not coincidentally, these sectors are largely dependent on migrant workers, who have less access to legal protection and also lack the local support of friends and family”.

With ‘Used in Europe’, La Strada International and partners:

  • Urge European governments to enforce international regulations to prevent, punish and redress human trafficking practices in Europe.
  • Urge businesses to increase their vigilance and control of supply chains.
  • Encourage consumers to choose products and service from Europe with care.

In addition to the above, KISA asks for the adoption of an open migration model, which will be based on equality of all, in order to:

  • Support the right of long-term residency of migrant workers,
  • Safeguard the independence of migrant workers from the their employers and
  • Promote and implement transparent and reliable procedures of migration and employment in Cyprus that will not force – prompt migrant workers applying to private employment agencies that will treat migrant workers as modern slaves.

Interested to know more?

In case you are interested to know more about the current situation in Europe and what different actors can do to address human trafficking, please phone or e-mail us.

Contact for the media:

Suzanne Hoff, International CoordinatorLa Strada International


Doros PolykarpouKISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism

+357 22 878181 /

Used in Europe campaign is launched in the framework of the project “NGOs & Co – NGO-business engagement in addressing human trafficking” (URL: and is co-funded by the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme of the European Union.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the Author, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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