Undocumented Workers, the Most Vulnerable, the Most Exploited


Europe proves to be no different.

Rev. Cesar Taguba of Migrante-Europe said, “There is an alarming trend for Europe to institutionalize and intensify further its policy of shutting out as many migrants, deporting as many starting with the undocumented, and restricting the rights of the other migrants.”

The United Nations reported that 600,000 to 800,000 persons are trafficked every year, of which 120,000 are destined for Europe. Globally, 27 million fall under the category of enslaved.

Taguba said that the first to victimize the undocumented in Europe are those in the “illegal, inhumane and criminal trade of smuggling and trafficking of persons.” By sea and land from African and Eastern Europe, smugglers in persons charge 1,000 to 1,500 Euros per person. From Southeast Asia traveling by air/land/sea, the amount charged ranges from 9,000 to 16,000 Euros per person.

From 1998 to 2008, at least 500, 000 died at the borders of Europe. Taguba said thousands of men, women and children die by drowning and suffocation on their way to Europe. Last June, 196 died by drowning and 13 by land.

Those who succeed in entering Europe join the ranks of around 12 million undocumented. It is estimated that of the 4.6 million Africans in Europe, about 600,000 to 700,000 are undocumented. Of the estimated 954,000 Filipinos in Europe, 113,00 are undocumented.

Over the last three years, 655 Filipinos were deported.

Taguba said the undocumented migrants work in the informal labor sector as domestic helpers, cleaners, farm workers, waiters, fruit pickers, crop harvesters. They are also found in construction, warehouses and factories.

“Employers prefer undocumented domestic helpers because they work outside working hours, are not covered by laws, willing to receive low pay and difficult to organize. Employers exercise power by maintaining the migrant’s undocumented status and developing dependency for immigration status,” said Taguba.

He said that many domestic helpers suffer from verbal and physical abuse, sexual harassment, poor living and working conditions and late or non-payment of salary.

He added that undocumented migrants satisfy the need of employers for an ever available and flexible labor, citing the agricultural and construction sectors.

“With the increasing xenophobia stroke by the rising political influence of the Far Right and amplified by the mainstream corporate media, the restriction/repression (of undocumented migrants) is getting to be the norm,” Taguba said.

He said that the recent approval of the European Return Directive by the European Parliament last June, “criminalizes, stigmatizes and marginalizes the undocumented.” It will be implemented beginning 2010. The Return Directive calls for six months detention, with possible 12-month extension and a re-entry ban for five years.

Member states like the United Kingdom and Ireland would like to have more stringent measures.

Earlier, Italy’s Lower House passed a bill called the “Security Package” which allows imprisoning irregular migrants for six months to four years. In the United Kingdom, a draft Investigation and Citizenship Bill presented last July includes provisions that require migrants to pay “bail” and wear electronic tracking devices to avoid detention while awaiting expulsion. They need to pay the cost of expulsion ranging from 11,000 to 13,000 pounds.

Share This Post