Plzen – The number of labour exploitation cases rose in the Czech Republic from three in 2008 to ten last year, most of the victims being foreigners, according to data released at a conference held within a meeting of the European Crime Prevention Network committee today.
Experts said at the conference they expect trade in people for the purpose of forced labour to continue.
According to unofficial data, Czechs are also victims of labour exploitation, mainly in the “old” EU countries.
Statistics show that labour exploitation is the second most frequent form of trade in people after sexual exploitation. It is estimated that its proportion will gradually grow from one third at present to one half in the future.
“Trade in people for the purpose of forced labour is new for the whole of Europe. In the Czech Republic it has been registered since 2004 when an amendment to the penal law was passed. Under it not only sexual exploitation, but also other forms such slavery, serfdom, forced labour and others are registered,” Lenka Myslikova, from the Czech Interior Ministry, said.
She said mainly Mongolians and people from the countries of the former Soviet Union are most often labour exploited in the Czech Republic.
“These people work up to 16 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week. They do hard labour that poses health risks,” she said.
They often get a minimal wage, if any. Organised groups prevent them from leaving by artificially raising their debts, threatening them and using violence against them.
Myslikova said the situation in the Czech Republic is relatively good and that it is connected with migration.
The ministry, however, says the situation may worsen as people who lose work in consequence of the economic crisis are prone to crime.
The police squad for uncovering organised crime released in April information about the detention of three Slovaks in south Bohemia over alleged trafficking in people.
According to the police they were luring homeless people and foreigners in distress, offering them hired labour. The people then worked in intolerable conditions and under the threat of force.
The Czech Republic is also a transit country for people with false documents being transported further on to other EU countries.
Of late, it has also become a source country and its citizens work in inhuman conditions in Britain, for instance.