Questions on European Commission actions aimed to tackle modern slavery

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Dear Sir/Madam,

European Union has been designed with the aim to promote peace, European values and the well-being of its peoples, ensuring the existence an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers that is helping its citizens to achieve prosperity.

Also, the Treaty of Lisbon offers a powerful message on the social and economic dimension, the 2nd article stating that „it shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, and shall promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child”.

However, the reality seems to show another perspective on the European Union, in which the free movement and the internal market, with the complicity of local and national authorities, a reality in which the human rights are under increasing threats.

The EU legislation strongly prohibits trafficking of human beings, modern slavery and forced labour. Sever labour exploitation cases are more and more highlighted by investigative journalism. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights states that human dignity is inviolable and that slavery and forced labour are prohibited.

Nevertheless, European citizens are „suffering horrendous abuse”, if we quote an article published on 12th of March 2017 by the British daily newspaper The Guardian in an investigation on the Romanian farm workers conditions in Southern Italy [1] . These cases have been revealed also by local and national publishers for some years [2], [3] .

Observing the continuity of the cases of exploitation, slavery, and other inhuman and degrading treatments over the years, there are some legitimate questions regarding the actions of the European institutions to guarantee the rights of the European citizens on the European labour market.

Therefore, I am asking the following questions:

1. How the European Commission is tackling the aforementioned violations of human rights, considering the area of freedom, security and justice, and the difficulties of the citizens whose rights were violated to access the justice system?
2. Are there any programs of support for the victims of modern slavery?
3. Does the European Commission cooperate with other EU institutions, national, regional and local authorities or other stakeholders to address the situation and to increase the security of the European workforce in the European labour market?
4. Is available any instrument aimed to assess, monitor and support the Member States in the progress in ensuring labour rights compliance and/or other areas related to the cases highlighted? If not, does the Commission intent to initiate a legislative or non-legislative mechanism that could tackle the human rights abuses mentioned, considering that the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights cannot examine individual complaints and it is not mandated to carry out systematic or permanent monitoring of EU member states?

I am looking forward to receiving the answers related to the questions above at [email address].

Thank you!

Yours faithfully,

Madalin Blidaru

[1]The Guardian, 2017, March 12, Raped, beaten, exploited: the 21st-century slavery propping up Sicilian farming, [English]
[2]L’Espresso, 2014, September 14, Violentate nel silenzio dei campi a Ragusa. Il nuovo orrore delle schiave romene, [Italian]
[3]Ziarul de Vrancea, 2013, September 2, Un păncean a fost bătut de patronul italian pentru că și-a cerut salariul, [Romanian]