As distressing as this headline is, the more alarming fact is that the experience of these five workers is far from the exception in Israel. They are representatives of much wider phenomena, of extremely exploitative employment models – against which Kav LaOved and other civil society organizations, including Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, have been fighting for years. The path from these forms of employment to modern-day slavery is short, and yet these methods of employment were allowed to expand and proliferate in the last couple of years. We witness this phenomena daily at Kav LaOved: the collection of astronomical brokerage fees for the right to work, the binding of workers to an individual employer, the limitation of workers’ mobility, among other horrifying characteristics that constitute modern-day trafficking . It is the state’s duty to prevent this horrific exploitation of workers. This can be prevented through oversight and enforcement of existing laws as they related to all workers including the most vulnerable. Without the application of employment law to all workers – modern-day slavery will only grow.
(Photo credit: IITA, Flickr, (CC BY-NC 2.0))