“Before You Go”, an information campaign to fight labour exploitation in Sweden and the Baltic Sea Region, was launched on 15 November 2022 by the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the Swedish Gender Equality Agency. The campaign aims at informing labour migrants and displaced persons from Ukraine, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania about the risks of labour exploitation and the rights they have as workers.
“Labour exploitation and human trafficking are serious crimes that tend to flare up in times of crisis. That is what we are currently seeing with the war and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine,” said Edi Mujaj, senior advisor on human trafficking at the Council of the Baltic Sea States. “The ‘Before You Go’ campaign will help more people find secure paths to employment,” he added.
Specifically geared towards people from Ukraine, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania who plan to work in Sweden, a CBSS member state, the campaign features a video with advice, to their compatriots, from people who have already settled in there.
Additional guidance on how to avoid the pitfalls of labour exploitation and on the rights of labour migrants is also published on an information page on the Swedish Gender Equality Agency’s website.
In the Baltic Sea Region, labour exploitation and human trafficking for forced labour is still prevalent in a number of industries, especially in construction, hospitality, berry picking and domestic services.
“The CBSS has a long-time experience of tackling human trafficking in the Baltic Sea Region and beyond, both through policy recommendations and practical projects,” said Grzegorz Poznański, Director General at the Council of the Baltic Sea States.
“The COVID pandemic and the Russian aggression in Ukraine have negatively impacted the challenges related to human trafficking, including for labour exploitation,” said Poznański, adding that the CBSS is currently prioritizing these challenges with partners across the region.
“Launched in Sweden, the ‘Before You Go’ campaign concept may eventually spread throughout the Baltic Sea Region, with similar campaigns adapted to other national contexts,” said Mujaj.