The Malta Independent 6 December 2021, Monday

Malta listed as one of 20 EU countries where risk of modern slavery is rising

Joanna Demarco Tuesday, 15 August 2017, 11:37 Last update: about 5 years ago

A report on modern slavery published last Thursday has listed Malta as one of the 20 countries within the European Union were the risk of modern slavery has risen over the last year, seeing an accumulated rise in modern slavery throughout Europe.

The report, titled ‘Modern Slavery Index 2017’ is the second edition of a study published by the UK-based global risk consultancy company Verisk Maplecroft, the previous one published in 2016.

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According to the report, ‘modern slavery’ is defined as “an umbrella term for slavery, servitude, trafficking in persons and forced or compulsory labor,” and the research assesses 198 countries on the “strength of their laws, the effectiveness of their enforcement and the severity of violations.”

The Modern Slavery Index (MSI) shows that the five EU countries posing the highest risk of modern slavery are Romania, Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Bulgaria, which the report refers to as “key entry points for migrants into the region who are extremely vulnerable to exploitation.”  The organization said that “the presence of these vulnerable migrant populations in the primary countries of arrival is a key contributor for increases in slavery across multiple sectors in the region, such as agriculture, construction and services.”

Within the EU situation, the index saw Romania and Italy fall significantly. Romania fell 56 places from the year prior to the 66th country with highest risk and Italy, which ranked 133rd fell 16 places. According the report, they “have the worst reported violations in the EU, including severe forms of forced labour, such as servitude and trafficking.”

According to foreign media publication Quartz, Italy has taken 85% of the 100,000 migrants that arrived by sea so far in 2017. Keeping this in mind, the report by Verisk Maplecroft states their expectation that the risk will only get worse in Italy by this time next year. “Due to the geographic shift in migrant sea arrivals, Verisk Maplecroft expects the risk of modern slavery to worsen in Italy over the next year, with agriculture a sector of concern,” the report said.

It was noted that countries including The Netherlands, Austria, Spain, France, Lithuania and Latvia were not listed as increasing in risk. The UK, France and The Netherlands have recently approved ‘new and emerging’ legislation on modern slavery and human rights.

According to the report, outside of the EU,  Turkey saw the world’s second largest drop in the Modern Slavery index, plummeting from 110th to 58th most at risk, and entering the ‘high risk’ category. “The influx of 100,000s of refugees from the Syrian war, combined with Turkey’s restrictive work permit system, has led to thousands becoming part of the informal workforce,” the report said.

Cambodia experienced slight progress in the 2017 index, moving up 19 places from 61st to 80th. India experienced the biggest improvement compared to all other countries, moving up from the 15th to 49th worst within the index. The ten highest risk countries in the world as rated on the index, within the ‘extreme risk’ category include North Korea, Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Iran, Libya, Eritrea and Turkmenistan. 

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