There are various types of human trafficking, such as sexual exploitation, labour exploitation or forced criminal behaviour. Nonetheless, the various forms of exploitation have in common that there is an element of coercion (in a broad sense) of the victim and a certain financial or other gain for the trafficker.
Identifying human trafficking practices is vital, as victims may be dependent on people in their environment to escape from the exploitative situation. The coercion or threat exercised by the exploiter may be so considerable that the victim may need help to escape the exploiter. In addition, victims are not always aware that they are being exploited; for example, because they are unfamiliar with their rights as a worker in the Netherlands or because they are in love with the exploiter.
Victims in exploitative circumstances often exhibit the same characteristics, so-called signals or indicators. For example, someone may be a victim of exploitation if they:
• are being forced to have sex against their will;
• are being forced to have sex for payment and to surrender their earnings;
• are required to do dangerous or unhealthy work;
• are required to work long hours;
• are paid too little, are not paid at all or have payment of their wages postponed;
• do not have access to their own passport;
• have been brought to the Netherlands under false pretences;
• are being mistreated, blackmailed, coerced or threatened;
• are being forced to pay off a large debt to their employer;
• do not have access to the money in their own bank account;
• work for undeclared payment or without accident insurance cover, for example;
• are housed in an industrial building or area, or are accommodated poorly in any other manner;
• do not know the address of their own accommodation;
• are being put under pressure in any other way.
Cases of human trafficking usually involve a combination of various indicators.
The Centre for Crime Prevention and Safety(CCV) and Defence for Children-ECPAT have developed an online e-learning tool for municipal desk clerks and enforcement officials, which teaches them to recognise the indicators of human trafficking. Click here to be redirected to the online course.
In addition, the following documents provide insight into possible indicators of human trafficking and are designed to help professionals identify for which signals they should be looking out.
The first three practical manuals provide practical tools for first-line professionals who come into direct contact with human trafficking victims in order to identify three types of exploitation. The guideline for identifying human trafficking for health-care professionals was specifically developed for that group. The list of indicators provides an extensive overview of the possible signals and indicators. The training handbook provides support to those training first-line professionals in order to recognise signals. Finally, the guideline of the Azough Commission provides a step-by-step outline of what course of action is available to aid workers if pimp boyfriend grooming is suspected.