How To Spot The Signs Of Forced Labor & Human Trafficking

How To Spot The Signs Of Forced Labor & Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking occurs much more frequently than we like to believe and can often go unnoticed. This is because the perpetrators target vulnerable groups, especially when it comes to forced labor.

According to the World Trafficking Institute, the following identities or socioeconomic factors are often targeted: 

  • Impoverished individuals
  • Refugees/Asylum seekers
  • Runaway youth(s)
  • Individuals with substance abuse issues
  • Members of the LGBTQ+ community 

Forced labor, sometimes described as modern slavery, is one of the most significant forms of trafficking in the modern world. In fact, a recent study from the International Labor Association found that “49.6 million people were living in modern slavery in 2021, of which 27.6 million were in forced labor.” 

A similar report from Respect International found that “three out of every 1,000 people worldwide – are victims of forced labor across the world, trapped in jobs which they were coerced or deceived into and which they cannot leave.”

Consequently, it’s important that others are able to spot the signs of trafficking and forced labor in order to eradicate this issue from society. 

What are the signs of forced labor?

There are many different signs or indicators that suggest an individual has fallen victim to forced labor or human trafficking, especially as a member of a marginalized community. 

The individual is not in charge of their documents. Many individuals experiencing forced labor find that important documents, such as their passports, are withheld. This is an inherently abusive practice that restricts their freedom of movement. For example, they may be unable to return home or apply for asylum or documentation. According to a recent study based on Qatar, “passport confiscation appears to remain widespread, particularly among the country’s 173,000 domestic workers.”

At Joblio, we help to process local paperwork with immigration authorities on the border,  but never take hold of the actual documents or share them with anyone. All documents stored on our platform are stored securely, in compliance with GDPR regulations. 

Overcrowded housing. Many individuals experiencing forced labor live in group housing, where multiple families live in the same spaces. These ‘houses’ are not only overcrowded but poorly managed, meaning they do not have access to suitable living facilities such as heating and hot water. In some cases, they may actually be forced to sleep at their place of work. 

At Joblio, we help foreign workers find secure and safe housing – even without a credit history. We always advocated for the workers’ best interest, and have built lasting relationships with major real estate conglomerates, such as Starlight Investments in Canada, to make it easier than ever for foreign workers to obtain safe housing. 

Low-pay or withheld salaries. Traffickers managing forced labor operations often withhold salaries or ensure that their workers receive very little money for their efforts. They may also fail to provide workers with payslips that detail, “the hours they have worked, their wage rates, and any legal deduction.” This means it is harder for them to advocate for themselves when underpaid. A lack of finances also means that they are unable to remove themselves from the situation. 

We ensure that all employees hired through Joblio are paid according to the market standard, protecting them from discrimination. 

Typically anxious/scared behavior. In some cases, you may be able to notice that a person is a victim of forced labor or trafficking due to their behavior. They may appear visibly shaken or nervous or express a fear of certain individuals. They may also be scared of authorities or seeking help from them, as they worry this will impact their ability to stay in the country. Their abuser may have engineered this fear with the intention of keeping them silent. However, these fears may be pre-established as there are many reports detailing a history of police brutality against migrants and asylum seekers.

At Joblio, our ACE program has been developed to guide newcomers through the process of moving abroad and the hurdles they may encounter. This reduces the anxiety and stress they may be feeling and promotes self-confidence. As soon as they register with Joblio, they become part of the ecosystem where they have access to emotional and practical support. As a result, they are safer and more empowered. 

They do not speak for themselves. Traffickers or those engaging in employment abuse often try to keep their workers silent. As a result, you may notice that they often have someone speak on their behalf in public settings, such as if they are receiving medical assistance. Traffickers often use language barriers as an excuse to act as a stand-in, but this behavior enables them to monitor their victims closely. 

As a member of the Joblio family, workers have access to our unique conflict resolution service. For example, if a misunderstanding at work led to conflict, the workers can ask Joblio to communicate directly with the employer to straighten things out. After all, there is often no bad intent associated with these actions, as miscommunication can easily be bred out of language or cultural differences. 

Though Joblio is not the employer on record, we continue to support our hires after they start working – for as long as they need us. 

Poor health or no access to healthcare. Many victims of human trafficking do not receive access to healthcare. Poor living conditions could also mean that they are more vulnerable to sickness and injury. They may also appear malnourished.  

Every hire made through the Joblio platform is employed legally and ethically. As a result, they have full access to any healthcare support they need in their hosting country and have an insurance policy in place. 

Joining the fight to end forced labor. 

“As a developed society, it is our duty to make migration positive and empowering for those who come to our countries and help improve our economies,” said Jon Purizhansky, CEO and Founder of Joblio. 

As a global recruitment company, our system is designed to circumvent the need for exploitative middlemen by helping refugees, and asylum seekers find work in a range of host countries. Our practices are secure and transparent, and the needs of the worker are always put first. 

“Our mission is to bring ethicality into an industry that has been plagued with fraud, abuse, and shady tactics for far too long”, said Purizhansky. “We created a practical employment program that works for both employees and employers.”

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