If you have been forced to work for little or no pay in a job you can’t leave, made to travel for the purposes of a forced marriage or to have sex with someone you don’t know, or are working to pay off someone else’s debts, you may be a victim of human trafficking.
Whilst every case of trafficking is different, if something doesn’t feel right about your situation and it is safe to do so, it is vital you get the help and advice you need to get yourself to a place of safety.
- Can you leave your job / the person who is ‘looking after you’ if you want to?
- Can you come and go as you please?
- Are you paid on time / do you have access and control over your own money?
- Do you have your passport / identification papers? If not, who has it?
- Would you be hurt or threatened if you tried to leave?
- Are you worried about what would happen to your family if you left?
- Do you have to live with your employer / the person ‘looking after you’?
- Are you being told you are in debt to your employer / have to pay off a family debt?
LIES YOU MAY HAVE BEEN TOLD
You may have been trafficked by someone you have met in person or online or even by a relative. Many traffickers make promises of a better life to their victims / families. For example, you / your family may have been promised:
- that you would be getting a good job, embarking on a student course or entering a good relationship
- that you can pay back all your debts or a family debt in a quick and easy way
- a safe passage out of war / famine / drought / high unemployment situations
- that you would be well taken care of by other family members / friends you have never met
- that you can return or leave any time you want to
WHAT TO REMEMBER IF YOU ARE ABLE TO LEAVE / CONTACT THE POLICE:
- You haven’t done anything wrong.
- The police / agencies you contact are there to help you and will never ask you to do anything that you are not ready for.
- The police have a duty to protect you from anyone you think might hurt you. If you are afraid for your family members, make it a priority to let them know.
- You don’t have to give evidence in court unless you choose to do so.
- It’s ok if you don’t want to speak to the police – you can contact a specialist charity which helps survivors of trafficking.
- If your trafficker is keeping hold of your immigration papers / visa / passport and you cannot leave your place of enslavement without them, please request help from the agency you call for advice on how to retrieve these.