Labour exploitation

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Are you being forced to work under duress?

What is labour exploitation?

The term labour exploitation refers to cases where people are made to work – voluntarily or under duress – while their employer withholds their wages and/or cases where they are made to work under very poor conditions. Labour exploitation goes beyond poor employment practices. It is a combination of harsh, often inhumane, conditions in the workplace and the frequent co-occurrence of coercion, violence, blackmail, fraud or deception.

Exploitation occurs in all walks of life

Labour exploitation occurs in all sectors and industries. Key examples include the agricultural and horticultural sectors, the hospitality industry, private households, construction, and the cleaning and temporary employment sector.

You may be a victim of labour exploitation if you:

  • 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 your wages postponed;
  • do not have access to your own passport;
  • have been brought to the Netherlands under false pretences;
  • have been or are being mistreated, blackmailed, coerced or threatened;
  • are being forced to pay off a large debt to your employer;
  • are staying in the Netherlands illegally;
  • are afraid of deportation;
  • are being forced to surrender a large part of your income;
  • do not have access to the money in your own bank account;
  • are working for undeclared payment or without accident insurance cover;
  • are housed in an industrial building or area, or are accommodated poorly in any other way;
  • have limited freedom of movement;
  • are being blackmailed (or your family) or are the subject of extortion;
  • are being put under pressure in any other way.

Information for potential victims

Are you in immediate danger?

Please call the Emergency Number 112.

Do you need shelter?

Please call CoMensha on +31 33 448 11 86 or go to

Would you like to talk to someone about your situation?

Please call CoMensha at +31 33 448 11 86, go to

or contact FairWork at +31 20 760 08 09.