Workers who cross borders have the right to pursue justice no matter where they go. Realizing this right is Global Workers’ goal.
The Challenge: Businesses are global. Workers are global. Justice is not.
Millions of people, more than ever before, cross national borders seeking employment. These workers are uniquely vulnerable due to a lack of language skills and knowledge of local rights and resources. As a result, these global migrants are often cheated of wages, fall prey to human trafficking schemes, are injured, and suffer other serious forms of exploitation. Although they face barriers when seeking justice while in the country of employment, it is much worse if they decide to return home. The obstacles--both practical and legal--to achieving justice are nearly insurmountable from a foreign country. The result is that valid claims are routinely abandoned and thousands of workers never receive their wages or treatment for debilitating injuries. Without portable justice—the right and ability of transnational migrants to access justice even after they have departed--these workers will continue to be used and abused within the globalized economy. Workers should not have to check their legal rights at the border. Global workers require global justice.
Global Workers Defender Network: Portable Justice in Action
One way Global Workers ensures that migrants realize portable justice is through the Global Workers Defender Network. By empowering already existing organizations in the home countries to be resources to migrant workers, Global Workers is creating an efficient model for cross-border justice. Global Workers staff trains and supports the Defenders, who are human rights advocates, to facilitate legal cases for migrant workers in partnership with advocates in the countries of employment. Through this network, returned migrants who have suffered exploitation in the country of employment are no longer forced to abandon their rights simply because they want to go home. Rights education is also an important component of the Defenders’ work. For more detailed information on our Defenders click here
Supporting Advocates: Addressing Cross-Border Challenges
Global Workers identifies and strategically addresses obstacles that prevent advocates from successfully helping transnational workers achieve justice for labor exploitation. For example, migrant workers have no right to return to the United States to testify about abuses suffered. Without the workers’ testimony, advocates are often forced to drop the claims, leaving the abusive employer free to continue to violate U.S. laws. Through direct consultations, trainings, and written materials, Global Workers guides advocates to overcome these challenges. For more information click here
Advocacy: Mainstreaming Portable Justice
Global Workers engages in advocacy to raise awareness of portable justice issues ranging from educating policy makers to participating in public fora. Global Workers also provides training to entities such as governments to increase their capacity to prevent labor exploitation of transnational migrant workers and offer services to returned workers who have already been exploited while laboring in the United States.
We currently have programs in the migrant sending countries of Mexico and Guatemala and in the United States as the country of employment. On a case-by-case basis, Global Workers will consider facilitating cases and conducting other programmatic work, such as trainings, in countries.
to learn more on how we have helped migrants achieve justice.