In our regular weekly feature, we'll be taking a look at the winners and losers of the week in the struggle for the rights of working families. The winners will be the persons or organizations that go above and beyond to expand or protect the rights of working families, while the losers will be whoever went above and beyond to limit or deny those rights.
Forced labor and human trafficking exist in worksites and industries where workers’ rights are routinely violated and where a culture of exploitation reigns. In the tomato fields of Florida, more than 1,200 farm workers once toiled in conditions of forced labor. However, thanks to the organizing efforts of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), these workers now have respect on the job, higher wages and a say on the job.
The AFL-CIO joins the global labor movement in denouncing the recent abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by extremists in Nigeria. This horrific crime reflects both the continuing use of gender-based violence as a tool of subjugation and political control and the ongoing exploitation of children in armed conflict. The AFL-CIO is very concerned by the ongoing attempts by extremist organizations to deny women and children their right to a good education.
Last week, in an effort to pursue long-delayed justice, three of America's largest law firms filed lawsuits against Signal International on behalf of many of these men, and at least five more major law firms have agreed to represent many more. In an unprecedented pro bono collaboration, the firms will collectively represent more than 200 former guest workers in these suits, which charge that the men were subjected to forced labor and fraud that rose to the level of racketeering and human trafficking.
Some 52 million people older than 15—primarily women—labor as domestic workers around the world, according to a report released today by the International Labor Organization (ILO). Of those, 83 percent are women. The vast number of domestic workers, 21.4 million, are in Asia and the Pacific region, with 19.6 million in Latin America, 5.2 million in Africa and 2.1 million in the Middle East.