September 16, 2019
 In 2023-Worker Protection From Labor Exploitation

Country: Kazakhstan
Delegate Name: Shyla Chadda

Labor exploitation is associated with cruel treatment and hazardous conditions of workers. It goes against basic human rights. This is often caused by poverty and corruption in a community. Exploiting labor can result in negative physical and mental health. Poor wages keep these employees in the pit of poverty while negatively impacting the economy. The Asia and Pacific region contains 15.1 million people forced into labor which is the greatest amount compared to elsewhere. The Fair Labor Association states that “workers shall have the right to enter into and to terminate their employment freely.” Additionally, The International Labour Organization explains that they “Now have the opportunity to ratify the Protocol and integrate new measures at the national and regional levels to combat this crime.”

Kazakhstan has been trying to abolish this crime of labor exploitation by increasing funding for support shelters and collaborating with NGOs. The Kazakh government has taken steps to train higher authorities to investigate and prosecute these crimes. In 2021, Kazakhstan granted $304,830 to trafficking shelters that assisted the victims. However, the officials’ efforts became insufficient as the President signed a law in 2023 discontinuing unannounced inspections unless a complaint or supporting evidence is given. This is bad because undetected crimes such as child labor are easier to get away with due to the lack of announced inspection. According to the Walk Free Foundation, in 2016, around 81,600 victims were forced into labor. Kazakhstan was rated one of the top 10 worst countries for workers by the ITUC. However, improvements are in the process of being regulated. The NAP for Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor called attention to the creation of policies against child labor, programs to watch endangered communities, supporting children who have been victims, and raising awareness about the issue of worker exploitation. The Kazakh government has funded and shown support for programs that prevent child labor. In 2022, The Twelve Days Against Child Labor campaign funded by the government along with NGOs made over 7,100 joints to inspect over 10,300 sites. The national campaign reached over 900,000 kids and 420,000 employers. Unfortunately, there are gaps within these programs that reveal poor efforts to follow through with the goal.

Kazakhstan proposes a stronger approach to address the issue of labor exploitation. Kazakhstan recommends reinforcing programs that detect these problems such as forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking. Unfair treatment of employees not only takes advantage of human rights but also affects social and economic development. Countries that have been in similar situations should contribute to helping this issue and support endorsing these programs. Kazakhstan has understood the cons of worker exploitation in the past and looks forward to working on the pros of worker protection in the future.

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