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Tourism, Construction Bring Increased Human Trafficking

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Tourism, Construction Bring Increased Human Trafficking

Grótta Lighthouse

Photo: SBS.

“It is high time that authorities do their duty to eradicate human trafficking as the patience of those who see the catastrophic consequences of trafficking is long gone,” reads the resolution of a directors’ meeting of the Federation of General and Special Workers in Iceland (SGS). The federation held a meeting last Friday, where they discussed topics such as social dumping and organised crime on the Icelandic labour market.

SGS is a federation of 19 trade unions in the private sector and part of the public sector in Iceland. The federation’s directors say one consequence of rapid growth in the tourism and construction industries is an increase in social dumping in the labour market and direct abuse of people who come to Iceland to work.

The term “social dumping” describes the practice of employers to use cheaper labour than is legally available, for example by underpaying migrant workers or hiring volunteers instead of paid employees. According to Icelandic law, unpaid work is only justified in the case of humanitarian or relief organizations, work related to nature conservation, or work that would not be carried out otherwise.

The directors say human trafficking is one of the worst forms of social dumping and that unions have been waiting for a government-led action plan to address the issue for two years. “Despite the international fight against trafficking, the problem has grown in recent years and will probably continue to grow,” reads SGS’s website. “It is necessary for unions, authorities, and the public to be aware of the growing threat of human trafficking.”

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