Farmers and workers on the Mexico-Guatemala border have long relied on informal cross-border migrant labour, although these practices open the way to exploitation and abuse, and in the era of COVID-19, increase health and safety risks. Now, an ILO project is working with local organizations to promote fairer and safer recruitment practices.
Luis López* the owner of a coffee finca (farm) in the Mexican state of Chiapas, is worried. Like most coffee producers near the southern border he relies on migrant Guatemalan workers, mostly informally recruited and employed, to pick and prepare his high-quality coffee for export. But this year the COVID-19 crisis has closed the border, and he fears he will not be able to gather the harvest in September.