At least 90 migrant workers have reportedly lost their lives due to alleged corporate abuse or neglect in the past year, with the actual number likely higher, reveals data from the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC). The non-government organization warns of rampant human rights abuses, often exacerbated by lax government regulations and insufficient monitoring by multinational corporations.
“Fifa’s Connection to World Cup-Related Abuse”
Fifa, Meta, and Tesco find themselves at the forefront of companies linked to corporate migrant worker abuse, according to BHRRC’s data. Among them, Fifa is implicated in cases involving migrants working on projects related to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, hailing from countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, India, Uganda, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
“Meta’s Role as a Social Media Platform in Exploitation”
Meta, the parent company of social media giant Facebook, is implicated through its platform being used by recruitment agents and other entities to exploit vulnerable migrants seeking employment. This connection underscores the far-reaching impact of social media on the exploitation of migrant workers.
“Tesco Faces Scrutiny Over Supply Chain Practices”
Tesco, a major player in the retail sector, is also under the spotlight for its supply chain practices. The company, often associated with everyday consumer goods, faces allegations concerning the treatment of migrant workers within its operations, business relationships, and supply chains.
Extent of Abuse:
The BHRRC report, based on publicly documented information, highlights that most of the reported deaths (83%) are linked to breaches in occupational health and safety standards. The report expresses concern that the actual scope of abuse is likely much higher due to limitations on journalistic freedoms, lack of access to remedy or grievance mechanisms for migrant workers, and the fear of reprisals.
Regional Impact and Vulnerabilities:
Migrant workers from Nepal, the Philippines, and India, who travel to the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas for employment, are identified as the most frequently affected groups. The report emphasizes that these workers often face interconnected vulnerabilities, including limited access to social security, information, unions, and advocates, leading to their exploitation by unscrupulous employers.
Call for Action:
Isobel Archer, Senior Migrant Rights Researcher at BHRRC, emphasizes the need for companies to go beyond general labor rights policies. She calls for the adoption of tailored, migrant worker-centric risk assessment, due diligence, and remedy processes to address specific vulnerabilities.
Responses from Companies:
While Fifa contends that the report overlooks the measures implemented in Qatar, Tesco asserts its commitment to human rights in its supply chains. Meta did not respond to requests for comments.
The alarming trends revealed by the BHRRC underscore the urgent need for multinational corporations to reassess their practices and take concrete actions to protect the rights and well-being of migrant workers in their supply chains. As public scrutiny intensifies, addressing these issues becomes imperative for the companies involved.