Global Newsroom

Freedom United and HTS are partnering to provide regular snapshots of the latest news on modern slavery. Look here for updated summaries and responses to news stories that relate to human trafficking and modern slavery.

Canada’s migrant workers program denounced by lawsuit as modern-day slavery

When Black and Brown field hands were recruited to Canada to fill labor shortages in the 1960s, a migrant worker program was …

Is legal child marriage in Virginia finally at an end?

Virginian lawmakers are considering a bill that would remove all exceptions to getting married before the age of 18, as …

Kenyan domestic workers demand protection from exploitation & abuse in Gulf countries

A legal case being brought by a group of almost a dozen Kenyan former domestic workers who worked in Gulf …

Oman’s human trafficking corridor

Fareeda’s story Recruited to work as a domestic worker in Dubai, Fareeda, a 49-year-old woman from India was promised a …

Cambodia’s hidden cyber slavery horrors

An industrial park in rural Cambodia is surrounded by a 10-foot-high concrete wall that is lined with barbed wire. According …

Volkswagen linked to Uyghur forced labor by new evidence

In the midst of mounting concerns surrounding forced labor in China’s Uyghur Region, German automaker Volkswagen once again finds itself …

In Sierra Leone, climate change worsens human trafficking of the poor

Two women look on to the site where their homes used to be after the mudslide in Regent, Freetown, in …

I escaped modern slavery. Wouldn’t you want to know if I made your shirt?

According to the Global Slavery Index, nearly 50 million people are living in modern slavery, exploited because of society’s desire …

New study finds ending prison slavery makes good economic sense

Governments can’t afford to undo slavery in prisons. At least, that’s what we’ve been hearing for years. But maybe they …

Should private equity be held accountable for labor abuses in their portfolio companies?

Private equity firms are increasingly grappling with labor rights scandals within their portfolio companies. As a result, campaigners and investors …

U.K. modern slavery laws inadequate 20 years after preventable deaths of migrant workers

20 years ago, on the beach of Morecambe Bay, 23 migrant workers illegally smuggled into the U.K. drowned while picking …

Cookie maker being sued over child labor in supply chain

In a landmark legal action, plaintiff Megan Waggener Van Meter’s class action lawsuit against Mondelez International Inc. sheds light on …

Reunited twins victims of decades-long baby trafficking scheme

In 2021 Tamuna Museridze, a journalist in Georgia, Europe discovered she was adopted and started a Facebook group to search …

Prison slavery linked to fast Food Giants Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Kroger

A comprehensive two-year investigation by The Associated Press unravels intricate, invisible webs connecting some of the world’s largest food companies …

Corporate due diligence law one step closer in EU

The European Council has unveiled an updated strategy to address the issue of forced labor within the European Union (EU). Just …

Car manufacturing brands tarnished by Uyghur forced labor still include Tesla and Toyota

A recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) found aluminum made by Uyghur forced labor may be in the supply chains of …

Theresa May to confront Home Office over ‘appalling’ secret policy on trafficking victims

Department has admitted that it hid the policy due to concerns about former PM’s reaction Theresa May is to confront …
north korea

12 years of forced labor for North Korean teens caught watching K-dramas

A video clip from North Korea showing two 16-year-old boys being sentenced to 12 years of forced labor for watching …

Modern slavery in U.K. social care: relaxed visas = rising exploitation

Modern slavery is escalating within the social care sector in the U.K. following the relaxation of immigration rules to address …
solar panels

Uyghur forced labor still not adequately addressed in renewable energy sector

A recently published investor guide and policy brief on green technology supply chains found that more proactive strategies are needed …

Garment industry stitched together by exploitative labor

Major fashion brands, including Barbour and PVH (owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger), are set to pay over £400,000 in …

Forced labor concerns plague U.K.’s seasonal worker scheme

U.N. Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery Tomoya Obokata, recently warned the U.K. government that by failing to investigate …
fast food

Child labor laws dissolving across the US as fast-food child labor violations soar

A comprehensive analysis by The Washington Post has uncovered a troubling surge in child labor violations within the fast-food industry in the …
Afghanistan

Forced marriage in Afghanistan: selling your daughter just to survive

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT Heartbreaking stories shared by the Washington Post reveal the devastating impact of forced child marriages on vulnerable Afghan children. …

$200,000 fine for Slaughterhouse found responsible for migrant teen’s death

A Mississippi meat processing plant, Mar-Jac Poultry, was found responsible for the death of a 16-year-old migrant teen worker who …
fair trade

“Fair Trade” labels helping corporations hide exploitation

In the idyllic aisles of U.S. supermarkets, labels like “responsibly grown,” “farmworker-assured,” and “fair-trade certified” adorn fruits and vegetables, masking …

New worker driven scheme takes aim at modern slavery at sea

The U.K. has launched a two-year program to be run by labor rights groups in partnership with the Seafood Ethics …

Big brands implicated in forced labor finds report

Leading fashion brands, including Barbour and PVH (Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger owner), have pledged over $400,000 to compensate garment …

“100% ethical” sourcing commitment by Starbucks focus of new lawsuit

NBC reports that a consumer advocacy group filed a lawsuit this week challenging global coffee chain Starbucks’ claims of ethical sourcing …

Child marriage: Washington takes a stand

Lawmakers in the U.S. state of Washington have unanimously passed House Bill 1455, a proposal to ban child marriage on …

China appears to be boasting about having increased Ugyhur forced labor

Despite ongoing concerns about forced labor in the Uyghur Region from human rights advocates, the United Nations, scholars and the …

Lax European laws lead to forced labor at sea “running wild”

A recent report found that European companies, led by Spain, Russia, and the UK, owned almost 23% of the commercial …

Child labor a common blind spot for private auditing firms

In recent years, major U.S. corporations have assured ethical labor practices within their supply chains through private social compliance audits. …

Migrant workers fighting back against racist policies in Canada

Policies from the 1960s still in place today are being challenged in court by seasonal agricultural workers who say the …

60 more lives lost off Libyan coast- EU’s migration policy

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 60 persons drowned last week attempting the cross the Mediterranean and enter …

Exploitative child labor and denied accountability: a look at 2023

2023 was marked by the alarming resurgence of child labor, signaling a troubling rise of exploitative practices and casting a …

Outlawed marriage practice “ghag” leads to forced marriage and trauma

n northwest Pakistan, many women and girls are forced into marriages based on an outlawed custom named ghag, where a …

Modern slavery is turning into a “feature” of care sector in UK

Restrictions on the free movement of workers around the E.U. have significantly increased the likelihood of exploitation in the U.K., …

Migrants in New York victims of forced labor and sex trafficking

Trigger warning* The Miami Herald reports that the U.S. Federal prosecutors brought charges of forced labor and sex trafficking against a New York …

Alabama’s prison work programs labeled ‘modern day slavery’ and taken to court

This week, current and former prisoners in Alabama filed a lawsuit in federal court arguing that the state’s prison labor …

Forced child marriages deepen Rohingya girls’ suffering

Warning: The original article is upsetting and may trigger some readers. The Malaysian Rohingya Muslim minority group has had to …

Illegal debt bondage infecting India’s labor force

NPR News relays the story of Shanta Bai, a farmworker in rural India, who was locked in a chicken coop for a …

Forced to scam: online scam operations exploiting and entraping thousands

TIME reports on the global cyber scam operation known as “pig butchering” that originated in China six years ago. The scam …

Doubts remain after Volkswagen audit finds “no signs” of forced labor

German human rights due diligence firm Loening Human Rights & Responsible Business GmbH conducted an audit of Volkswagen’s site in …

Child labor found on California poultry farm

According to the World Socialist Web Site, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has fined The Exclusive Poultry Inc., a Californian …

Foster children more vulnerable to trafficking due to gaps in screening process

Amid growing concerns over sex trafficking, a federal audit reveals critical shortcomings in screening protocols for foster children, leaving many …

Without strong legislation forced labor will corrupt E.U. market

A report published on December 6 commissioned by a group of E.U. lawmakers warns that “a substantial volume of apparel tainted by …

The dangers of rolling back child labor protection laws underlined by 16-year-old’s death at sawmill

The Guardian reports that in Wisconsin, a 16-year-old was killed when he was operating a conveyor at a sawmill and got …

Ending child marriage in Malawi by breaking the chains of tradition

In the heart of Malawi, child marriage persists despite its outlawing in 2017. Tamara’s* story, shared by the BBC, unveils the …

Given forced labor evidence, will Shein be allowed on on the U.S. stock exchange?

As Shein confidentially files for a U.S. initial public offering, questions about forced labor in its supply chain resurface, casting …

Modern slavery survivors serving time for crimes they were forced to commit

Survivors of modern slavery are being sent to prison for crimes they were forced to commit instead of being identified …

The dirty secret behind the popular superfood açaí

Açaí has become well known in recent years as a popular superfood, transforming from a little-known berry grown in the …

Long overdue due diligence laws are still missing in New Zealand

According to RNZ, the average household in New Zealand spends $77 per week on products linked to modern slavery. This figure …

Child marriage needs to end say Philanthropist leaders

Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney, and Melinda French Gates recently visited Malawi and South Africa announcing to the BBC their aim to end child …

Seafood purchases of U.S. government violate Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

China’s distant-water fishing fleet, the world’s largest with up to 6,500 ships, operates in murky waters, both literally and figuratively. A four-year …

EV industry’s filthy supply chain needs cleaning up say protesters

The recent opening of the LA Auto Show was disrupted by protesters aiming to shine a light on harmful practices found …

Bill S-21 is almost here, but are Canadian retailers ready?

Bill S-211 is Canada’s new supply chain law, officially known as the “Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in …

U.N. proposal’s reference to forced labor in solar panel supply chain leaves China objecting

Climate Home News reported that a U.N. climate resilience fund proposal was objected to by China due to documents mentioning the …

Japanese companies pledge to keep child labor out of their chocolate

The cultivation of cocoa beans often involves the use of child slavery and child labor. Kyodo news reports two companies in Japan …

Germany’s supply chain legislation under fire

Oxfam, an international aid organization, has made an official complaint to the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export …

Temu shirks responsibility for forced labor in supply chain

Newcomer Temu has been finger pointed as very likely to have Uyghur forced labor in their supply chain, according to El Pais News. In …

Seafood for sale in Ireland pulled from currents of forced labor

A documentary film crew recently investigated modern slavery and human rights abuses reported onboard Chinese fishing vessels. According to The Irish …

Teens call for end to Kentucky prison slavery

A group of teens from Kentucky, U.S. has been sharing an unsettling truth in their home state: the state’s constitution …

U.S. Bishops call for action to safeguard migrant children

U.S. bishops are urging Congress to address the rising threat of human trafficking faced by unaccompanied migrant children within the …

Anti-trafficking legislation language creates “another hoop” for survivors

An anti-human trafficking expert is leveling criticism at proposed legislation by the Irish Government, claiming it lacks protections and forces survivors …

Carbon credit scheme likely linked to Uyghur forced labor

South Pole, the world’s largest carbon consultancy, sells carbon credits for companies seeking to offset their carbon emissions. A recent …

Celebrating the U.K. Supreme Court decision, but what comes next?

On November 15, human rights won when the U.K. Supreme Court ruled the Rwanda plan unlawful, stating that it is …

New film ‘Tobacco Slave’ puts modern slavery front and center

The Bristol Cable discusses a new documentary film, titled Tobacco Slave, which gives a voice to Malawi farmers trapped in …

Seasonal worker scheme plagued by modern slavery

An investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and The Independent has uncovered a report done by the UK Home …

U.K. care sector still challenged by modern slavery

Care workers in the U.K. have been calling the national helpline for victims of modern slavery at an unprecedented rate …

CoreCivic settles detainees forced labor case after 5 years

Immigrant detainees at Georgia’s largest immigration detention center have finally reached a settlement in their forced labor case against CoreCivic …

Forced labor the source of “fishy” imports to the U.S. from China

On October 24, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China sent a formal request for the government to ban seafood that is …

Fines levied to X/Twitter for failing to protect against child sexual exploitation

Australia’s eSafety commissioner has issued a legal infringement notice to X, formerly known as Twitter, regarding its failure to implement …

Thai political leadership rolling back regulations that prevent slavery at sea

Thailand’s recent election winner Move Forward party and the Prime Minister’s Pheu Thai party recently published policy positions that would reduce …

A trafficking survivor’s story under the Illegal Migration Act “If I go back, I will be murdered”

The reality of Anna (pseudonym), a sex trafficking survivor, facing unlawful removal from the U.K.  demonstrates the abominable dangers that …

Cracking down on child labor violations on the agenda for Pennsylvania Rep

In the United States, Representative Ryan Mackenzie of Pennsylvania has introduced new legislation that would increase the penalties for child …

Global seafood supply chain tainted by Uyghur forced labor

A recent investigation by the Outlaw Ocean Project, in collaboration with The New Yorker, exposes deep-rooted human rights violations, including …

Supply-chain auditing prioritizes protecting companies, not workers

A recent investigation by The Guardian into international supply-chain auditing companies found a lack of independence and transparency in their auditing processes. …

Florida latest state to roll back child labor laws

As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Florida has become the 16th U.S. State to roll back workplace protection laws for children with …

U.S. prison labor system “contemporary slavery” according to UN report

A recent report published by United Nations human rights experts denounces the prevalence of “contemporary slavery” within the U.S. prison …

Cryptocurrency scammers found to be victims of cyber-slavery

KHMER Times reports that at the end of September, approximately 27 Filipino nationals were rescued from a cryptocurrency scam, a form of …

Child labor laws violated by Chick-fil-A operator

Two Utah Chick-fil-A locations were recently found guilty of violating child labor laws. The owner and operator of both locations, …

In Michigan, U.S. child marriage is outlawed

The U.S. state of Michigan signed a bill that banned people under the age of 18 from getting married – …

Malaysian rights groups say law allowing excessive overtime equals forced labor

A group of 20 Malaysian organizations and trade unions are calling on the government to amend the employment regulations law …

U.S. prison work programs at exploitative and traumatizing says former inmate

The U.S. has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world – housing over 20% of the world’s …

Forced labor ties lead to restricted imports for three more Chinese companies

In an effort to eliminate goods made with Uyghur forced labor, the U.S. State Department added three more Chinese companies to the …

Human trafficking cover-up at “Faith-based treatment facility”

In the latest scandal to hit the so-called “residential therapy for teens” industry, a judge in Wyoming has allowed claims …

Cargill fined by Brazil for using child labor on cocoa farms

American company Cargill, the world’s largest commodity trader, has been ordered by a Brazilian court to pay 600,000 reais ($120,185) …

Exploitative recruitment scheme of Ethiopian’s for Saudi Arabia

In a distressing revelation, The Globe and Mail exposes a deeply troubling reality: the Ethiopian government’s Facebook campaign, ostensibly aimed at providing …

Incarcerated workers in Louisiana take prison officials to court over forced labor

Incarcerated workers at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, commonly known as Angola, have filed a class-action lawsuit against the prison warden, …

Testimonies and complicity found in the forced organ harvesting trade in China

Envir Tothi and Grace Song share their horrific experiences encountering China’s $1 billion-a-year illegal organ harvesting trade, via The Daily Mail. …

Tesla boasts about their ethics, but what’s the truth about their ethics?

A report published by the Washington Post reveals the evidence of an investigation into the supply chains of major auto companies that …

Instead of living the American dream, migrant teens are “living the American nightmare”

An investigative journalism piece from PBS recently uncovered evidence that migrant teens arriving at the U.S. border are being exploited by hiring agencies …

Migrant workers in Canada at severe risk of modern slavery

A recent report by an independent U.N. human rights expert found that the current migrant worker system in Canada is a “breeding …

Unmasking human trafficking realities along the U.S.–Mexico border

As part of the Women and Foreign Policy program’s Democracy, Corruption, and the Fight Against Human Trafficking Project, Melissa I.M. Torres was …

When it comes to modern slavery, “trusting a company’s word” doesn’t suffice

MPs and anti-slavery groups are sounding the alarm after recent revelations that ministers in the U.K. are simply “taking the …

Modern slavery survivor calls for economic system built on transparency

Modern slavery remains an unsettling presence in our every day lives. Our garments, smartphones, and even solar panels often carry …

Ireland’s noteworthy anti-trafficking framework

13 September 2023, a report by the Human Rights and Equality Commission of Ireland (IHREC) on recommendations to the government for improving …

Cubans trafficked to fight for Russia in war against Ukraine

According to the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Russia has been operating a human trafficking ring that forcibly “recruits” Cubans to fight …

Arrests in Indonesia, but organ trafficking continues

According to The Diplomat, 12 people have been arrested as suspects in a transnational organ trafficking ring. The suspects include a …

Darien Gap: facing danger in the search for safety

The dense jungle between Panama and Colombia referred to as the Darien Gap, is being crossed by an unprecedented number …

What’s the difference between prison work programs and sweatshops?

Prison labor is a silent but significant contributor to the American economy. It encompasses various industries, from woodworking to vehicle …

Braverman’s bid to leave the ECHR is the latest hostility to modern slavery survivors

In a recent interview on BBC’s Radio 4’s Today, Home Secretary Suella Braverman stated her wish that the U.K. leave …

IOM Program helps make Middle East migration safer for women

Irregular migration routes from Africa to the Middle East are increasingly being traveled by women and young girls that are …

Human rights activists win suit against Thai chicken company again

Three human rights activists in Thailand have finally been declared not guilty in a trial lasting almost four years. Their …

16 Attorneys General issue warning for Shein, dialing up pressure for change

In a letter dispatched to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week, Republican attorneys general from 16 U.S. states to scrutinize …

UN Report details how, under threat of torture, thousands in SE Asia are being forced to scam

The BBC recounts the findings from a UN report that details how hundreds of thousands of people from around the world are lured to …

Cotton harvest in Turkmenistan tainted by state-sponsored forced labor

Right now, it’s cotton-picking season in Turkmenistan and the authoritarian government is using the forced labor of thousands of teachers, …

Starbucks called on to come clean by Freedom United and other anti-trafficking organizations

Freedom United and our global partners, Be Slavery Free, Green America, and Mighty Earth, are taking on coffee chain giant …

Modern slavery survivors denied support due to crackdown on “bogus claims”

Thousands of suspected modern slavery cases were recently rejected by the UK’s home office due to a crackdown on “bogus …

Family of former UK Prime Minister make historic apology for slavery

As Guyana commemorates the 200th anniversary of a rebellion by enslaved people that historians say paved the way for abolition, …

AI to help weed forced labor out of cotton

Legislation aimed at eliminating forced labor is rolling out around the world, forcing companies to start mapping their supply chains to prove they are free of …

“Sound of Freedom”: Hollywood’s misguided take on anti-trafficking

Amid the tremendous popularity of the film “Sound of Freedom,” which has made over 100 million dollars already, a critical …

Foreign diplomats given tour of Uyghurs’ “content and happy life”

Beijing-based ambassadors and diplomats from 25 developing countries visited the Uyghur region recently on invitation from the Chinese government. The …

Russian revenue from forced prison labor doubles in value

Russia’s federal budget revenue has seen a significant upswing due to prison labor, which has just brought in double the …

Migrant labor trafficking operation behind a laundry service

A judge recently found the owners and managers of a Virginia based laundry business guilty of illegally smuggling 100 migrants …

U.S. government faces new lawsuit on child slavery cocoa

A nonprofit has filed a federal lawsuit to force the U.S. government to block imports of cocoa from Côte d’Ivoire, …

Why Ron DeSantis’s Florida slavery curriculum is problematic

Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor and a potential Republican presidential candidate, is facing mounting criticism for newly approved curriculum guidelines in …

Are tech worker shortages to blame for a predicted spike in forced labor?

According to TechHQ, manufacturing titans in Asia are facing a labor crisis with more and more young workers dropping out …

Kafala system promotes worker mistreatment

Kafala system leads to migrant domestic workers being treated like animals Photographer Aline Deschamps recently met and photographed women who were …

Eritreans experienced forced labor under compulsory national service

Eritreans experienced forced labor under compulsory national service Eritrea’s policy of indefinite national service, which includes civil service and military …

Risk of forced labor in Lululemon’s supply chain

The Canadian government recently joined the ranks of California, the United Kingdom and Australia in passing laws designed to eliminate …

“You would lose your mind” – inside Libya’s hostage centers

A recent privately screened documentary gives an in depth look at life inside migrant detention centers in Libya, notorious for …

U.S. bans goods from Chinese companies linked to Uyghur forced labor

Al Jazeera reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has sanctioned two Chinese firms, battery manufacturer Camel Group and …

Flawed visa system locks survivors out of services

The Australian government recently introduced new measures aimed at protecting migrant workers at risk of exploitation. But new research by Nerida Chazal …

Forced labor pervasive in U.S. food chain

While the U.S. generally treats forced labor as a foreign issue, a new study highlights a need for the country …

Modern slavery cases on the rise as U.K. care worker shortage exploited

Over the past year modern slavery cases reported in the care industry in the U.K. have more than doubled. Investigators …

Ukrainian civilians endure brutal exploitation under Russian occupation

An investigation by Associated Press has uncovered how Ukrainian civilians are being forced to dig trenches for Russian soldiers. At …

Uyghur teenage girls forced to work in garment factory

Around 90 Uyghur teenage girls are reportedly trapped in a government controlled garment factory in the Uyghur Region of China. …

From self-styled modern slavery leader to abandoning trafficking victims – what happened?

The U.K. has just passed the Illegal Migration Act into law in a devastating attack on the rights of migrants, …

Australian employment agency investigated for exploiting migrant workers

Australian employment agency, Linx Employment, is facing multiple allegations of exploiting Pacific Islanders working in Australia on seasonal visas under …

Nike and Dynasty Gold investigated for Uyghur forced labor

Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE), has opened an investigation into complaints about the overseas operations of the popular brand …

International Justice Mission involved in violent raids, separating children from families

A recent investigation by BBC Africa Eye has raised serious concerns about the operations of one of the world’s leading …

Migrant care workers exploited by unscrupulous employers in U.K.

General secretary of the U.K. healthcare trade union Unison, Christina McAnea, has written to the U.K.’s social care minister, Helen …

Trafficking survivors may stop calling National Hotline, advocates warn

A proposed bill in the U.S. House has ignited a fierce debate surrounding the National Human Trafficking Hotline, as the …

U.K. forced to drop unlawful policy penalizing trafficking survivors

In January of this year the U.K. Home Office introduced new guidance for those claiming asylum as victims of modern …

Fair Food Program to protect farmworkers comes to Colorado

The recently released 2023 Trafficking In Persons Report calls on businesses to partner with NGOs to ensure forced labor is not part …

No scrutiny for some 2 million packages entering U.S. daily

U.S. lawmakers are concerned about an overwhelmed Customs and Borders Protection (CBP) which is charged with blocking imports linked to …

Over half of child trafficking victims recruited by family and friends

A new report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Harvard University has uncovered how more than half of …

The problem with the Shein influencer trip

In a strikingly obvious attempt at whitewashing, fast fashion giant Shein invited a group of American influencers on a trip …

Volkswagen bends to pressure, will audit Uyghur Region plant

Volkswagen’s recent annual general meeting (AGM) sparked an interesting week in activism with online, in house and in person protests, …

Modern slavery survivors in Australia face multiple barriers to housing

The Australian federal government recently passed a funding boost directed at modern slavery survivors to help them access services such …

Human trafficking prevention: Ireland’s plan

Minister of Justice Helen McEntee of Ireland launched the Third National Action Plan to prevent and combat human trafficking on …

Organ trafficking survivor in U.K. fears for his safety

When Daniel travelled from Nigeria to the U.K. at 21 years old, the terrifying notion of being forced to undergo …