European consumers must learn to buy responsibly: IOM

Last Updated: Monday, October 19, 2009 - 09:32

Geneva: European consumers must learn to
"buy responsibly" in order to help combat the trafficking of
migrant labour exploited to make cheap goods, an international
migration agency said today.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
launched an advertising campaign in support of fair trade that
encourages consumers in Europe to question what lies behind
the products they buy.

"A lot of people are trafficked to Europe and we feel
very strongly that the root cause of trafficking is not
poverty, it`s not gender inequalities, it`s not conflict,"
said Richard Danziger, head of IOM`s Global Counter
Trafficking Programme.

"The bottom line is demand, that we as consumers want
cheap products," he told journalists.

The IOM believes trafficking and exploitation of illicit
migrant labour is just as widespread as it was a decade ago.

About 12.3 million people are believed to be working in
forced and exploited labour, according to the International
Labour Organisation, but there are few estimates of the impact
on migration.

Most campaigns and laws focus on the supply end of the
chain, but officials argued that there was a need to tackle
the demand for cheap foreign labour and services in Europe
that can lead to exploitation.

"Some sectors of the economy, such as construction and
agriculture, depend on irregular cheap labour for growth and
profits," said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

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First Published: Monday, October 19, 2009 - 09:32

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