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Ministry’s response relating to the exploitation of foreign workers by the companies Marinblu and Selea

We publish the response of the Ministry to the news about the brutal exploitation of foreign workers by the companies Marinblu and Selea and the inspection procedures which are underway regarding this case. The relevant statement provided below was given by State Secretary Dan Juvan.

"The media reporting about modern-day slavery in the companies Marinblu and Selea of the former State Secretary Boris Šuštar shocked me initially, but then it reminded me of why my team and I came to this Ministry.

In the last two days, the media has revealed the brutal exploitation of workers by the companies Marinblu and Selea. 40-hour workdays, hundreds of overtime hours, threats, video surveillance, night-time phone calls and pressure, and non-payment of overtime hours and even salaries. These are not only violations of labour legislation, but of basic standards of civilisation, which are unfortunately occurring on a daily basis in the periphery countries but are evidently also present in Slovenia. We cannot pretend that this is an isolated case. On the contrary, it is a matter of the exploitation of labour for profits, on which the capitalist social and economic system is based. The story from Kozina is a story about how exploitation looks when taken to extremes.

Initially, let me very clearly emphasise that there is no place in Slovenia for companies such as Marinblu and Selea. It is my commitment that the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities will do everything possible to end such brutal exploitation of workers. At this point, I convey clearly and loudly to all employers who use such illegal practices that we will not permit such exploitation. I would like to inform workers that we will protect them, and I urge all who are the victims of such violations to come forward and report them immediately. The state authorities will respond and take appropriate action.

Let me say that inspection was immediately introduced in this specific case. The chief inspector will tell you more about the matter. We assess that, according to the currently collected information and all circumstances of work implementation, the elements of forced labour exist in the specific case, which represent one of the signs of the criminal offence of trafficking in human beings. This is already being processed by the competent authorities.

Each worker regarding whom suspicion exists that they are a victim of human trafficking has the right to receive help, support and safe accommodation. The persons for whom it is established that they were subject to forced labour obtain free access to the labour market. I thus hope that decent work will be found in Slovenia for these persons.

Trafficking in human beings is a criminal offence for which perpetrators are punished by an imprisonment of one to ten years and a fine, irrespective of the possible victim’s consent.

Our objective is and remains very clear and that is the protection of workers who are struggling for their livelihood. From the viewpoint of legislative bases, suitable amendments will be drafted to make the prosecution of such practices efficient. We envisage stricter inspection of employers. We envisage that, in this term, the Ministry of Labour will be a ministry of employees and not of capitalists."