On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Greek General Confederation of Labour, participants in the international Trade Union Conference on Combating Forced Labour and Human Trafficking organised jointly by the ITUC-PERC, the ETUC and the GSEE in Athens on 21-23 November 2008 within the ITUC framework of action adopted in 2007;
1. Acknowledge the growing presence of trafficking for labour exploitation in Europe and the severe impact it has on the European labour markets. In the current and uncertain context of the economic and financial crisis, it represents serious challenges to the trade union movement as it distorts the labour, undermines labour standards and institutions and erodes rights and collective bargaining white generating new and unacceptable inequalities in our societies.
2. Declare that this is one of the gravest violations of human and labour rights, affecting particularly migrant workers, which needs to be addressed as a matter of critical urgency by trade unions in the context of their mandate to defend the rights and interests of workers and fight against all forms of exploitation.
3. Emphasise that trafficking for labour exploitation constitutes a specific labour market issue, which needs to fall within the competence of labour ministries and which needs to be discussed in social dialogue mechanisms. Trade unions need to be recognised as stakeholders by all relevant local, national, regional or international authorities or multidisciplinary working groups in the fight against trafficking.
4. Express grave concern about the new forms of forced labour as an end result of human trafficking in Europe and stress that a regional trade union strategy is urgently needs to be developed as priority in the migration policies and strategies of the European labour movement.
5. Stress the importance of an adequate legal framework and the ratification and effective implementation of all related ILO and other international and regional conventions and regulations together with the universal applicability of human and labour rights.
6. Promote structural cooperation between national or sectoral trade union centres of sending and receiving countries as well as friendly NGOs with experience in the issue of human trafficking e.g. in terms of outreach and organising or victim assistance. (1)
7. Shall establish a Pan-European working group of committed trade union contact points in the countries of the Pan-European region coordinated by the ITUC-PERC, which should establish a Pan-European trade union solidarity-support network to: jointly discuss and address cases and develop and propose a European trade union policy specifically addressing human trafficking in Europe paying special attention to all aspects of racism and discrimination, including in particular its gender dimension, and; monitor their national situation and feed comments on the national implementation of international law into the relevant supervisory mechanisms.
8. Propose a European trade union campaign to raise awareness on the issue and to inform workers of the services of trade unions relevant to the most vulnerable on 18 October, the EU Anti-Trafficking Day, in 2009.
(1) At is minimum these should include all ILO Core Labour Standards, the Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (N°81), Labour Inspection (Agriculture) Convention, 1969 (N°129), Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997 (N°181), Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949 (N°97), Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Conventions,1975 (N°149), the ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration, the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking of 2005 and the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Woman and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.