By using letterbox companies as sub-contractors, German meat processing companies benefit from regulatory failures and loopholes, suppressing wages and social security, resulting in avoidance of accountability for respecting labour rights.

According to the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), “Media and trade union investigations have indeed found below-subsistence pay and exploitative working conditions amounting to human trafficking in some of the German meat sector.”

This phenomenon is neither exclusive to Germany nor the meat sector but has also been reported in other sectors across Europe, such as construction and transport.

Read more on the case in SOMO’s report.