Greece: Strawberry pickers trafficked into forced labour and shot win court case
Following today’s victory in the European Court of Human Rights by a group of Bangladeshi strawberry pickers shot by employers for demanding unpaid wages, Amnesty International's Deputy Europe Director Gauri van Gulik said:
“Today's judgment is an important vindication for these people and their families, and will hopefully help prevent future abuses.
"Amnesty International met the migrant workers in 2013 and interviewed them about the exploitation they were subjected to. We saw for ourselves their appalling living conditions. Four years have passed since the horrendous incident, and action is long overdue to ensure forced labour and human trafficking is prevented and identified, and that perpetrators are brought to justice.”
In today’s judgment in Chowdury and others v. Greece, the European Court of Human Rights found that 42 Bangladeshi migrant workers had been subjected to forced labour and human trafficking while working in a strawberry farm in Manolada, southern Greece. The Court also found that Greece has failed in its obligations to prevent human trafficking, protect the migrant workers, conduct an effective investigation into the offences committed and punish those responsible.
In April 2013, armed guards in the farm where they were working opened fire, seriously injuring 30 of the workers, including 21 of the applicants in the case, after they demanded their unpaid wages. Amnesty visited the strawberry farm shortly after the incident and observed horrendous conditions where migrant workers – some in their early teens – lived in crowded sheds without access to clean water and sanitation.