Dhaka, July 30 (UNB) - The world’s workforce has never been more mobile—from the gardener in California to the banker in Singapore. Whether it’s the dishwasher in Rome or the designer in London, we recognize human ambition is on the move, everyone—skilled or unskilled, with work permits or without—is seeking an identical goal: how to deploy their talents in those markets that reward them best.
Simple economics trigger those journeys that start with a dream of a better life and can result in enormous collective benefits for countries of both origin and destination when done in a safe and orderly way.
But as we mark the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, we also are reminded, sadly, that migrants are too often exposed to disproportionate risks of exploitation and abuse when looking for better employment opportunities away from home.
Every year, millions of migrants are trafficked within and across borders and find themselves trapped in forced labour. In some cases, men and women are coerced by force into work, enduring violence, threats or psychological manipulation. Often they find themselves indebted via unfair recruitment processes or employment conditions, all the while facing enormous pressures from their families and communities who may have gone into debt themselves, just to start their job search.
Other forms of exploitation only slightly more benign;—having to toil under dangerous conditions, settling for menial wages, facing hidden deductions and unreasonable restrictions during both work and non-work hours. These abuses, too, harm migrants and violate their rights.
These types of abuse can occur all along an industry’s supply chain and can be easily concealed among layers of sub-contractors. As consumers, while constantly looking for low-cost goods and cheaper services, we are obligated to consider the workers who make the products we desire and the services we need.
Trafficking in persons exists today in every country and every economic sector. Whether the business is coffee, clothing or construction, this much is clear: no workplace or community is immune to human trafficking.
It is so pervasive it can only be tackled with a global, all-hands approach. Consumers, especially, must join their governments, their local business community and work together to demand that decent work standards are met. We must all insist that supply chains are free from human trafficking and other forms of exploitation.
We are already seeing signs of change. A growing number of companies are taking action in their supply chains; more governments are developing new policies and regulatory mechanisms for greater business accountability. Civil society also plays a critical role in advocating for migrants’ rights and ensuring they have access to the protection and assistance services they need.
One famous example: as recently as 2015 the world became aware of widespread abuse of workers in Southeast Asia fishing grounds. Hundreds of workers labored in virtual slavery. Governments often lacked the means to enforce protection norms, which many employers learned to ignore.
That is beginning to change. Consumers and large retailers, aware of the negative impact of supply chain abuse, now demand more transparency. And so do governments, passing new laws requiring greater accountability from the multinational merchants that market seafood.
While these positive trends are encouraging, much more needs to be done. Today, I will focus on a key challenge, which I see as the next frontier in supply chain engagement: mobilizing the private sector to ensure that migrants who have been wronged receive the remedy and justice they deserve.
Beyond strengthening their due diligence, companies can and must take responsibility for harm perpetrated against their workers and ensure that all possible steps are taken to assist victims of trafficking in their recovery – which they can do by working closely with governments, civil society organizations, international organizations, and the victims themselves. States bear the primary responsibility to address human trafficking and protect trafficked victims. By establishing stronger connections between private sector and public efforts to help victims of trafficking, together we can do the work of rebuilding broken lives.
Earlier this year IOM, the UN Migration Agency, launched a set of practical guidelines for companies to address this challenge. In line with the United Nations’ “Protect, Respect, and Remedy” Framework, IOM’s Remediation Guidelines describe the many avenues that businesses can take to offer remediation to victims of exploitation, in partnership with local State and non-State actors.
These routes include facilitating access to victim services and support systems such as medical or psychosocial care; relocating victims to new job environments; offering voluntary return to countries of origin; support for recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration where possible. Businesses should also ensure they have established feedback loops so that they can continually improve reporting mechanisms, protection for whistle-blowers, and prevention of further harm.
More and more companies are coming together to address the risks they face in supply chains, but remediation for victims of trafficking remains a new area of work for the private sector. We must therefore redouble our efforts to ensure that support for victims of trafficking becomes a key pillar in our work.
So this is what it all comes down to. You can be excused for thinking that the World Cup (which always means the football one, unless otherwise stated) final, set to capture the global zeitgeist from the moment it kicks off in Moscow’s hulkin Luzhniki Stadium tonight, is the culmination of over a month’s action, served up by the world’s best footballers, from 32 countries over 64 games that like always, ransacked the world’s reserves of emotion. Yet in truth, it is much, much more than that.
The technical bit first. You see the showcase event for the Beautiful Game is the only world championship event in all of sport, for which every spot is awarded on the basis of competition. Cricket as we know, hockey, rugby, all have a set of ‘permanent nations’, who are joined by others through qualification. Football is too universal, an opportunity to compete in it too coveted, to allow for such niceties. Only the hosts get a free pass.
And so whoever wins tonight, their defence of the title is not guaranteed to even make it to Qatar in 2022. It actually commences in two years’ time, when FIFA’s 210 members (yep, the FIFA General Assembly seats a good 15-20 nations more than the UN’s, such as Palestine) across 7 continents actually commence the World Cup. Bangladesh frequently exits at the first hurdle, mostly unnoticed against some peripheral Asian nations. Although this time around, one of the teams in our group, Australia (remember playing them, home and away, couple years back?), also managed to make it all the way to the Finals.
And there of course, they were drawn in the same group as one of tonight’s finalists, indeed the favourites with most bookies and pundits to lift the trophy tonight, France. Les Bleus, as the French lovingly call their team, have forged a generation of impressive talent one that is fit finally to carry the torch lit in 1998, when despite the advantage of playing at home (and failing to qualify for the two preceding Finals, in what must’ve been a post-Platini hangover), they surprised everyone by going on to lift the trophy, thrashing Brazil in a one-sided final. It signalled the arrival of the French as a latter-day footballing power. Their football itself would take some more years to truly flower, epitomised by the silken skills and incomprehensible range of Zinedine Zidane, one of the greatest players ever. His storied exit from the game (quite literally) in another final 8 years later, marked the end of that cycle.
It wasn’t until 2014 that they would impress again, even as they were eliminated in the quarterfinals by eventual champions Germany. But in players like Griezmann, and Pogba, and Matuidi, one could sense something was stirring. EURO 2016 looked set to be the occasion they ascended to the status of champions, as they lined up for another final in Paris, but this time it was their turn to suffer the sucker-punch.
In the build up to tonight’s game, a number of the players have harked back to that night, vowing not to allow a repeat, and to leave no stone unturned, in the quest for guaranteed Immortality. With the addition of the wondrous talent of Kylian Mbappe up front, they have grown stronger (certainly with the teenage star’s speed across the turf, some magnitudes faster). They took time to get going, but in the knockout phase, starting with that dismantling of Argentina, they have kept looking stronger and stronger. The guile and intelligence embodied by Griezmann is the perfect foil for Mbappe, and so pedigree is far from the only thing pointing to France as champions.
But where the French are packed with firepower up front, their opponents on the night, Croatia, tiny, tiny, Croatia, have an industry in the middle of the park. And old coaches will never tire of telling you, football games are won and lost right there in midfield. Much is made of Croatia’s run to the final this time, surpassing the semifinal appearance of 1998 (losing to France). Such a small, young nation, forged through the horrors of the multiple wars that ravaged Yugoslavia in the Nineties. Yet this small corner of Europe’s mainland on its Adriatic Coast, has always produced skilled, and imaginative footballers. Tonight in their 5-man midfield, you’ll see two of their very best, in Luka Modric-Ivan Rakitic, lineup in what is called a double-pivot. If a double-pivot of this calibre, with Modric the artist and Rakitic the assassin, is having its day, most teams in the world will fail to see much of the ball even, forget serving its frontline with needed fodder.
Buttressing the double pivot will be Brazevic behind them, but more excitingly offering them width, will be the adventurous and angular Perisic, so effective and impactful in the semifinal. The way the competition has gone brooks no predictions for the final, but this much can be said: either team would make for worthy champions. Along with Belgium,beaten by France in that pulsating semifinal, would make for worthy champions. There will be no shortage of joy, and heartbreak is inevitable, where they all fall is up for question. The football, as always, will conquer.