Czech Republic: New slaves of the building trade
6 August 2009
The front page of Lidové Noviny leads with the headline: "Thousands of foreigners fall victim to slavery in the Czech Republic." Thousands of Ukrainians, Vietnamese and Mongolians are working for free in absolutely deplorable conditions, in particular in the building trade, explains the Prague daily. Officially, they are registered with shady "employment agencies," which are often run by their compatriots. The workers commit to huge loans to obtain work permits, and thereafter are unable to leave their jobs. "They must either hand over a huge sum, or escape," explains Lidové Noviny. "They are subject to humiliation, threats and violence on a daily basis – and there have even been cases of sexual abuse." The government is planning to solve the problem "following general elections in the autumn."