Exploiting Romanians and Bulgarians easy in Ireland 2008....
I had a job in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, arguably the most liberal city in the most liberal country in the world. I was working at a bakery there, in 2003 - '04. It was an organic bakery, serving a clientele that was, yes, more leftist than average. I was working "black" off the books.
The owner was not bad to me, and did not actively abuse me he was good to me, and gave me opportunity. But exploitation can happen easily, and without intent. The tendency is natural when the mechanism is in place.
On several occasions, I found myself in a job where one would expect equality and dignity treated as a second-class employee.
One day, A_ was talking to myself and another baker about the allotment of hours. He suggested to me that I would probably take whatever I could get in other words, that I wasn't in position to ask for anything more.
I was attempting to get a work permit from the Dutch government, under the sponsorship of the bakery owner. We were busy for a few months filing papers and following up on contacts, pursuing the matter through the arcane and inscrutable bureaucracy of that government.
Skeptical at first, I came to believe that it was going to happen, that I was going to be allowed to work, and thus to stay legally in Holland.
The sentiments of A_ followed a reverse arc: he was if anything naively optimistic when we began the process, and as I was beginning to see the promise of the foot that we had in the door, he had started to believe that it wouldn't work. Then one day as if on a whim, but likely after practical consideration (and maybe female influence) he told me that he had decided not to pursue the matter any further.
And he cut my hours.