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Exploitation and Domestic Servitude

Overview

Victims are exploited through non-consensual abuse or another person’s sexuality for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit or advantage, or any other non-legitimate purpose.

The forms of Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation include, Commercial sexual exploitation where women and children are trafficked into prostitution through brothels and escort agencies, pornography and every other part of the sex industry.

Victims are often trafficked by a gang or criminal group, a partner, pimp or a family member.

Women and girls are forced into an arranged marriage, without their consent and denied the option to refuse or are promised and married to another by their parents, guardians, relatives or other people and groups. Forced marriages often involves domestic abuse and sexual abuse or exploitation.

Although, officially, slavery has been outlawed for over 150 years, thousands of people are physically constrained, humiliated, abused or have other restrictions placed on their freedom of movement and are treated in a degrading and inhumane manner and forced to work through mental or physical threat with no or little financial reward.

Domestic Servitude:

Victims are domestic workers who perform a range of household tasks which may be cooking and cleaning. Many people live with their employers and have very low pay or none at all.

Some victims of domestic servitude may appear to be nannies or other domestic help. The moment their employment arrangement transitions into a situation where they cannot leave on their own free will, it becomes a case of enslavement.

Domestic workplaces are connected to off-duty living quarters and very often they are not shared with other workers. The circumstances of live-in help can create unique vulnerabilities for victims, the environment can isolate domestic workers and is conducive to exploitation because authorities cannot inspect homes as easily as they can formal workplaces.

Domestic servitude can also be a form of bonded labour, slavery happening when migrant workers reach a destination country, and they incur a debt for their travel and/or a recruitment fee. When a person is working and the employer or recruiter adds on additional costs that can never be repaid, which may be housing or food, then the arrangement has transitioned into a form of slavery.

The Details

A problem that is compounded when employers or recruiters neglect or confiscate legal documentation because migrant domestic workers are often fearful of reporting the abuse due to their fear of legal consequences.

Domestic servitude can also be linked to forced marriage, which is a mix of several forms of slavery, including forced labour, sexual enslavement and domestic servitude. In many cases, these workers-turned-slaves are beaten by the families they serve. They will work from very early in the morning until late at night, often these individuals do not speak the language of the country they are in, and are fearful of immigration officials or are unable to make contact outside of the home they serve.

Forced organ harvesting is a dangerous and illegal practice and often victims will have their organs forcefully removed in many ways.

​In light of the influx of political refugees arriving in Europe, numerous individuals have been offered assurance of safe passage to Europe in return for an organ. Many victims of forced organ harvesting have previously been human trafficked. Some victims are tricked into believing they require an operation and whilst under anaesthetic they will have an organ removed, without their knowledge or consent, some may be kidnapped and have an organ forcefully removed and others are murdered on demand and have their organs removed to fulfil an order.

Possible indications someone may be a victim of modern slavery are:

Signs of physical or emotional abuse

Appearing to be malnourished, unkempt or withdrawn

Isolation from the community, seeming under the control or influence of others

Living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation

Living and working at the same address

Lack of personal effects or identification documents

Always wearing the same clothes

Avoiding of eye contact, appearing frightened and hesitant to speak to strangers

Fear of law enforcers

Organ Harvesting is forced and a form of Modern Slavery which involves individual’s organs being surgically removed for sale on the black market.

​Organ transplants are becoming increasingly commonplace. Consequently, through desperation, many sick individuals are turning to the black market to source their organs, facilitating a hotbed of criminal activity. Forced organ harvesting is a dangerous and illegal practice and we need to HELP END IT!

Labour Exploitation is when victim’s are forced to work for nothing, low wages or a wage that is kept by their owner, work is involuntary, forced and/or under the threat of a penalty, and the working conditions are poor.

​Forced labour is different from sub-standard or exploitative working conditions found in some factories and employment opportunities worldwide. Labour exploitation is a form of modern slavery and is thus covered by The Modern Slavery Act 2015 within the U.K.

Victims of labour exploitation can be any age, gender and race, they are forced to work for nothing, low wages or a wage that is kept by their “owner” more often than not they are male. However, these profiles differ dependant on industry.

The first step towards combatting modern slavery and labour exploitation is identifying it.
You can observe the ways in which workers are treated and keep your eyes peeled for the following signs:

Squalid, overcrowded, unsanitary accommodation.

Workers being constantly moved between jobs.

Employees that are forced to work long hours or double shifts.

Daily threatening of workers, both verbally and physically.

Regular violations of theirs basic human rights and workers’ rights.

Modern slavery is more common in some industry sectors for instance, agriculture, clothing manufacture and construction.

These industries tend to be surrounded by minimal labour laws or are seasonal in nature.

You should also remain vigilant for any publicised concerns regarding suppliers’ labour standards.

Criminal Exploitation is when victims are forced to work under the control of criminals in activities such as forced begging, shoplifting, pickpocketing, cannabis cultivation, drug dealing or financial exploitation, taking advantage of vulnerable people who are often the very young, the impoverished or the infirm.

Traffickers are known to exploit vulnerable individuals by approaching them in food banks, homeless shelters or soup kitchens with a view to recruiting them to carry out short term work under the guise of cash in hand payment.

In some cases the recruiter may use drugs and/or alcohol as a means of control over the victim.

Many traffickers recruit their potential victims from other countries into to the UK with the promises of work, money and a better way of life but the reality is that people are being forced into working, begging and stealing to fund these criminal gangs.

It’s important we recognise and know the signs to look for which can be indicators that a person is being criminally exploited and a victim of modern slavery and human trafficking.

Possible indications someone may be a victim of modern slavery are:

Signs of physical or emotional abuse

Appearing to be malnourished, unkempt or withdrawn

Isolation from the community, seeming under the control or influence of others

Living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation

Living and working at the same address

Lack of personal effects or identification documents

Always wearing the same clothes

Avoiding of eye contact, appearing frightened and hesitant to speak to strangers

Fear of law enforcers

If you notice any of the above, take a closer look,

Do you see someone closely guarded and avoids any eye contact?

Is someone showing signs of poor mental health or physical injuries?

Have you noticed this person has very few or no possessions?

Do they speak very little or no English?

Do you see them giving their money to someone else?

If you suspect someone is being trafficked then you should report it straight away. This can be done anonymously if you are worried about your protection.

An analysis of data by The Independent shows the number of UK nationals recorded as being potential victims of trafficking increased from 1,246 in 2017-18 to 2,143 in 2018-19 – with the proportion of all victims who are British up from 21 per cent to 26 per cent in one year.

Domestic servitude is the seemingly normal practice of live-in help that is used as cover for the exploitation and control of someone, usually from another country. It is a form of forced labor, but it also warrants its own category of slavery because of the unique contexts and challenges it presents.

Victims of domestic servitude may appear to be nannies or other domestic help, but the moment their employment arrangement transitions into a situation whereby they cannot leave on their own free will, it becomes a case of enslavement.

The circumstances of live-in help can create unique vulnerabilities for victims. Domestic workplaces are connected to off-duty living quarters and often not shared with other workers. Such an environment can isolate domestic workers and is conducive to exploitation because authorities cannot inspect homes as easily as they can formal workplaces.

Domestic servitude can also be a form of bonded labor. This form of slavery happens when migrant workers reach a destination country, and they incur a debt for their travel and/or a recruitment fee. Though working, if their employer or recruiter adds on additional costs that can never be repaid, like housing or food, then the arrangement has transitioned into a form of slavery. This problem is compounded when employers or recruiters neglect legal documentation or confiscate it because migrant domestic workers are often fearful of reporting the abuse for fear of legal consequences.

Forced Marriage

Domestic servitude can also be linked to forced marriage. Forced marriage is a marriage without the consent of one or both parties, and the U.S. government considers forced marriage to be a violation of human rights. In the case of minors, it’s also a case of child enslavement. Forced marriage is a mix of several forms of slavery, including forced labor, sexual enslavement and domestic servitude.

Domestic Servitude throughout the World

Forced domestic servitude occurs throughout the world. Migrant workers are often vulnerable to domestic servitude, and some recruiting agencies trick workers into moving abroad and then confiscate their documents. This leaves workers stuck inside a home with no power to walk away. In many cases, these workers-turned-slaves are beaten by the families they serve and work from very early in the morning to late at night. Oftentimes, these individuals do not speak the language of the country they are in, are fearful of immigration officials or are unable to make contact outside of the home they serve. Beatrice Fernando’s story shows how this happens all throughout the world.

Forced domestic servitude is quite common in Haiti, whereby forced child servants are called restaveks. Restavek comes from the French “rester avec,” which means “one who stays with.” Haitian parents send their children to work and live with other families in exchange for better care and educational opportunities. These children are forced to work as enslaved domestic servants, and there are hundreds of stories of these children facing extreme beatings and inhumane living conditions, while never receiving the promised care or education.

(End slavery now .org) 

If you suspect modern slavery or that someone has been trafficked, you can help make them safe. If you suspect human trafficking, call the police. Call 999 if it’s an emergency, or 101 if it’s not urgent. If you’d prefer to stay anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

​If you suspect modern slavery, report it to
Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700
or the police on 101

In an emergency always call 999.

Don’t leave it to someone else. Your information could save a life.

Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery is real and it’s here. Please join us to help us END IT!

Slavery may be closer to you than you think. There could be victims of exploitation working in domestic servitude or forced labour on your street. No-one can own ANYONE!

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Human Trafficking Handbook: Recognising Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery in the UK

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Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

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