Beate Andrees is Head of ILO’s Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour. You can follow her on Twitter at @beateandrees
Tomatoes were once grown by indigenous people in the Andes and then exported to Europe and North America by Spanish colonizers. And while the delicious fruit has found a home in many parts of the world, many of the workers who pick it have not. Many are irregular immigrants, tolerated because they provide cheap labour, but not welcomed.
One of the most prolific tomato growing regions is the state of Florida in the United States, the area focused on by film director Sanjay Rawal and actress/producer Eva Longoria in their film Food Chains. It tells the story of a group of courageous migrant farm workers resisting their exploitation.
Alice Ouedraogo is Chief of the HIV/AIDS Programme at the International Labour Organization
Heavy trucks pass through the Chirundu Corridor, one of the major routes connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia in southern Africa. This is a vital transport artery, important for the economies of both countries and their neighbors. It is also a major route for the transmission of HIV.
The mix of long-distance lorry drivers — who go weeks at a time without seeing their families — with widespread poverty existing along the corridor, results in sexual encounters between drivers and women. The risks they take with their health have an impact on the wider community.
Shauna Olney is Chief of the Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch of the ILO
In 1995, a group of ILO staff watched in awe as the World Conference on Women adopted a new roadmap for achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in the years to come. This was the fourth global women’s conference in 20 years, following Mexico City in 1975, Copenhagen in 1980 and Nairobi in 1985. The roadmap called for actions to be completed five, 10, 20 years down the road.
At one point, a colleague, whose career had spanned those years turned to me and said, “why do we have to wait another 20 years?”
Twenty years on, I find myself asking the same question. It’s certainly time to assess what we’ve achieved, what needs to be done and how much longer we will have to wait.