This publication examines key risks that COVID-19 presents for migrant and other vulnerable workers. The report provides practical guidance and current examples of measures that business and government can take to mitigate those risks. The report is informed by a rapid assessment of immediate COVID-related risks, responses, and recommendations identified by civil society, international organisations, business and industry groups, and worker rights’ networks.
Millions of vulnerable workers do not have access to COVID-19 testing, health care, sick leave or the physical or financial ability to isolate. Many have lost jobs and are stranded overseas, unable to support themselves or return home due to lockdowns and travel restrictions. The combination of these health, safety and economic risks creates the perfect storm for exploitation, human trafficking and modern slavery to flourish.
Walk Free calls on business and government leaders to act urgently and collaboratively to address risks to vulnerable workers and protect lives. Whether that is migrant workers stranded without means to support themselves, or crews on vessels prevented from accessing basic supplies in port – we must put human rights and human lives first.