Migrant construction workers in Russia face widespread abuse both in and outside of the workplace, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. In a climate of rising hate-motivated violence against migrants, exacerbated by the global financial crisis, the Russian government is failing to protect these workers from abusive employers, employment agencies, and police.
The 130-page report, “‘Are you Happy to Cheat Us?’ Exploitation of Migrant Construction Workers in Russia,” documents widespread withholding of wages, failure to provide required contracts, and unsafe working conditions by employers at construction sites across Russia.
The report also details cases in which workers were unwittingly trafficked into forced labor by employment agencies that promised construction jobs in Russia, but then delivered workers to employers who confiscated their passports and forced them to work without wages. In some cases, these workers were confined and beaten.