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Montevideo, April 23rd 2024 - 08:39 UTC



Uruguay's Labor Minister pledges crackdown on human trafficking

Wednesday, February 28th 2024 - 10:40 UTC
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Workers coming from other countries are at a greater risk of being overexploited, Mieres argued Workers coming from other countries are at a greater risk of being overexploited, Mieres argued

Uruguay's Labor Minister Pablo Mieres announced Tuesday that his agency would “increase surprise inspections,” it was reported in Montevideo. The measure was announced after the discovery of a human trafficking network in the mining sector of the department (province) of Artigas bordering both Argentina and Brazil.

Mieres explained that the case had been under investigation by the Police and Interpol, but a complaint filed by a worker triggered the deployment that ended these illegal operations.

“We came across this complaint and the inspection acted immediately,” said Mieres. “In parallel, there was an ongoing police investigation. Both actions, from the government, converged. We are going to continue doing inspective actions these days to complete the picture and determine the irregularities and the corresponding sanctions,” the minister also explained.

“Workers come from other countries who are looking to improve their situation, who come with difficulties, looking for a future, then the risk of abuse is greater,” he further argued.

“We have to be vigilant because Uruguay has to be a country as it has always been; one of the leading countries in the world in the defense of workers' rights,” he insisted.

Earlier this week, Mieres said the informality rate in Uruguay was 21.5%, which was lower than those registered under the Frente Amplio (FA) administration of the late President Tabaré Vázquez. FA presidential hopeful Mario Bergara claimed that 90% of the jobs created in the last months were unregistered ones.

“Informality dropped 3.5 points” from 25% to 21.5% during the Multicolor government “despite everything that happened in between, despite the pandemic, despite the crisis...,” Mieres replied. “There are 40,000 fewer informal workers than in the time of the Frente Amplio,” he added. “There were 400,000 informal workers” and “now there are 360,000.”

Mieres intends to resign his post later this year to run for president on behalf of the Independent Part (PI), a social-democrat group within the Multicolor coalition. He will be replaced by Undersecretary Mario Arizti, President Luis Lacalle Pou's administration announced earlier this year.

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