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Exploitation of Indian migrant workers in Serbia continues

Global Voices, Serbia, 28 December 2021 - Indian migrant workers have been targeted to work at mega construction projects in EU-candidate state Serbia. A group of workers is not willing to give up fighting for their salary, despite the legal loopholes that a company registered in America has used to contract them for work in Serbia.

In 2019, over 150 men from various Indian states began working for GP Nikolić, a Serbian construction company, on a number of infrastructure projects across the Balkan country.

“We worked every day, did not have a single day off”

The process of emigration for migrant workers from India is a long and hard one, even before they board a flight. To secure the job in Serbia, Mukhtar Ahamad, a worker from the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, says he shelled out the equivalent of about EUR 680 in recruiting fees to an unregistered agency, “Shakti Tread Test Centre,” run by Muktinath Yadav. Yadav did not respond to Unbias the News’s calls or messages to confirm.

When they arrived in Serbia, the Indian workers found that their accommodations consisted of prefabricated containers, with four people cramped in a small room. “We didn’t get proper food, and the rooms were very small,” says Boobalan. “It was very difficult to stay in that cramped place. Human rights organizations visited, even took videos.” In addition to unsanitary living conditions, workers and union members state that there was minimal or no heating in the lodgings.

Since most migrants hailed from warm places in India, like Chennai, they were ill-prepared for sub-zero Serbian winters and paid out-of-pocket for proper winter clothing.



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