State failing to identify, help migrant victims of abuse, NGO charges

Migrants walk along rail tracks on sunset close to a migrant collection point in Roszke, Hungary (photo credit: REUTERS)
Migrants walk along rail tracks on sunset close to a migrant collection point in Roszke, Hungary
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An NGO says it has identified 67 migrants who were victims or alleged victims of severe workplace abuse or human trafficking and were not properly handled by state authorities.
According to the report from the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, 15 Turkish construction workers were subject to allegedly abusive conditions. The report cites testimony from the workers given to an Israeli administrative court for migrant issues against their employer, Turkish Yilmazlar International Construction Group. The Turkish citizens were being detained in Givon Prison in Ramle for violating their work visas when they gave their testimonies.
One worker claimed in court that he worked from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., was threatened against leaving work, and slept in cockroach-infested rooms, the report states.
Yilmazlar International Construction Group, which employees 965 construction workers in Israel, did not return a request from The Jerusalem Post for comment.
“We check regularly the protocols of the administrative detention review panels. That’s how we found the Turkish workers,” said Sigal Rozen, the report’s author and public policy coordinator for the NGO.
The report was presented to the Knesset Special Committee for Distributive Justice and Social Equality on Tuesday.
The document also accused the state of failing to identify victims who migrated from Africa and experienced torture and human trafficking on their journey through Sinai. The report said the NGO identified 49 victims, from Eritrea, Sudan, and one from Senegal; however, only 18 were recognized as victims.
A spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority did not return a request for comment on the report.
The report also identified a Georgian nursing worker, and a Filipino caregiver, working in “slave-like” conditions, and a Thai agricultural worker was identified by the NGO Kav LaOved – Worker’s Hotline in abusive conditions. “The fact that only three trafficking and slavery survivors were found during the year among the 84,000 migrant workers and migrant workers legally employed in Israel does not indicate the low number of people employed under conditions of slavery, but rather the absence of any governmental mechanism to locate those victims,” the report said.
The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants also identified one alleged victim of human trafficking, a Moldovan citizen employed in prostitution who was in Israel on a tourist visa.