International Workers Day is about celebrating how far we have come as workers. It’s about recognising the hard-won rights we enjoy and about remembering those who fought to give them to us. It’s also a day where we show worker solidarity, defending the rights we share and speaking up about rights that still need to be fought for. We wanted to take a moment today to think of those who are still struggling for their rights as workers, and to speak about some of the exploitation that is sadly still prevalent across the world.
Improving working rights around the world is central to our mission of preventing human trafficking and modern slavery (HTMS). We work with major corporations and SMEs to help them understand where there might be risk of HTMS in their supply chains and to identify the tell-tale signs of the various forms of exploitation. We run campaigns around the globe which seek to raise awareness of exploitation, and to help those who may be vulnerable to, or victims of, this exploitation know their working rights and seek support where necessary.
Ultimately, we seek to encourage people to #SpotTheSigns of exploitation, speak openly about its realities and report suspicious activity when they see it.
Within the field of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery prevention, labour exploitation refers to situations where people are coerced to work for little or no remuneration, often under threat of punishment. There are a number of means through which a person can be coerced, including:
All types of labour, within every industry, are susceptible to labour exploitation. It is a worldwide problem whose scope and scale is sometimes difficult to wrap your head around. Here are some key facts and figures from the International Labour Organization (ILO):
These figures make for pretty bleak reading, and it can often leave us feeling powerless in the face of such widespread exploitation. But we are not powerless, we believe that through our collective action we can shine a light on this exploitation and work to prevent it from happening. So, what can you do about it?
1. Educate Yourself
The first step you can take is to educate yourself about the issue, so that you can spot the signs of labour exploitation. By spotting the signs, you can help change the course of an individual’s future.
Someone may be being exploited for labour if they:
Remember: Spotting one of these signs may not mean that someone is being exploited or trafficked but seeing one should be a reason to be suspicious. The more signs you see, the more likely that this person is being controlled, exploited, and trafficked. Be sure to visit our #SpotTheSigns resources for industry specific indicators in multiple languages.
2. Report anything you deem suspicious
If you suspect that someone is being coerced or exploited, or you are yourself a victim of human trafficking, call your nearest local authorities or support organisation.
You can anonymously report your suspicions to Crimestoppers. Equally, if you do not think there is immediate danger but have seen something that doesn’t look right you can report anonymously and confidentially via The STOP APP – which can also help us build a picture of what exploitation looks like globally.
Lots of the time, workers who are suffering labour exploitation have been trafficked into the situation. This means that they have been exploited in transit from one place to another, when they are unsettled and in search of a new opportunity, often when they are at their most vulnerable.
STOP THE TRAFFIK is an intelligence-led organisation that works to prevent human trafficking. We do this by collecting data from all around the world and using it to develop a large-scale picture of the movements, trends, and tactics that underpin Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery in concert with the Traffik Analysis Hub.
We believe that we can make a serious impact on the business of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery by doing three key things:
Make sure to follow us on social media via the links at the bottom of this page and help us raise awareness of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery.
If you can afford to do so, a donation would be hugely appreciated. Know that every penny you donate will go towards the prevention of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery around the world.