This is a potentially ground-breaking complaint that puts on notice those companies who continue to knowingly profit from modern slavery. The case highlights significant gaps in labour protections within the European Union and the lack of remedies available to affected workers of forced labour. The Netherlands – like other EU countries – has a clear opportunity to highlight and enforce corporate accountability for human rights harms in supply chains and deliver justice, in particular now that a due diligence law is being discussed in January by the Dutch Parliament. Severe exploitation of migrant workers continues to happen in the Netherlands and Europe. The ships produced with exploitative labour continue to sail our seas.
There is limited chance that the public prosecution will still investigate the case, which we try to enforce with our appeal. According to the Dutch Public Prosecution the complaint filed does not show that the companies profited from the exploitation. Moreover according to the Polish inspection there have been inspections with these companies during the time covered by the complaint (2003-2018), but they found no indications for forced labour or human trafficking. It should be noted though that the Polish labour inspectorate did not identify or refer any case of forced labour or human trafficking over the last five years, whereas there have been many credible reports indicating that forced labour is very much a problem in certain Polish industries. The only way for us to enforce a further investigation, is to show that the prosecutor’s decision was premature and legally flawed. This is the aim of the current complaint procedure. In this procedure, we build on extensive information collected and research done. Also see the documentary Why Slavery.