It’s important that victims are detected as early as possible. Earlier intervention protects them from further harm but it also contributes to more effective prosecution and punishment of offenders.
There are several indicators that -if at least two coincide- can be an indication for human trafficking. They can therefore help you evaluate whether the person you’re interacting with is indeed a possible victim of human trafficking.
You can find these indicators below, as well as some suggestions on how to respond to a possible case of human trafficking and what to think about when interacting with a possible victim. In any case, if you have any questions or doubts, feel free to contact us.
Doesn't have freedom of movement
Has little or no social contacts (with anyone outside of those involved in the possible exploitation)
Works in poor conditions
Spends the night at their place of work
Receives little or no pay for their work
Passport and/or other identity documents are being withheld
Has to repay a big debt
Is distrustful of government services
Shows (indications of) physical or psychological violence
You can download the list in Dutch here. If you feel it’s useful, you can always contact us to order them in print.
Victims of human trafficking are often bound to the person(s) exploiting them through intimidation, threats, financial debts (real or not), or another form of dependence. It is therefore not easy and it requires a serious amount of courage and a basic confidence to take steps to get out of the process of exploitation.
Experience teaches us that, because it’s so hard for victims to leave their exploitative environment, they often refuse any kind of help during the first contact. So don’t get discouraged by this, it’s a process.
And if you’ve experienced this; or you’ve met a possible victim and have questions about the next steps; or you’re having doubts about whether a case you‘ve encountered is in fact human trafficking; or you just want to know more about human trafficking: contact us, we’re here to help.
Victims of human trafficking do not always recognise their situation as one of exploitation. They feel they are responsible for getting into their situation of exploitation. Also a victim may (rightfully) fear the response of the person exploiting them if they find out they are considering leaving or even discussing their situation. As a consequence it might take a while before a victim feels safe enough with you to share their experience.
Victims of human trafficking are often (directly or indirectly) monitored and controlled by the person(s) exploiting them. It is therefore essential to only talk about any suspicions you have of exploitation when you're alone with the victim and only with them personally, not when the person(s) accompanying them are present, not even if they are family.
Exiting a situation of exploitation requires courage. It can be that the victim you meet is not at the point in their own process where they're ready to leave. If this is the case you can indicate that it is possible for them to get help to leave the situation in a safe way, but they can do this at any time in the future as well. Sometimes it's more important to keep having good conversations than to solve the situation immediately.
Is the victim in immediate danger? Call 112 and contact the police directly. As soon as the victim is safe you or they can contact us. You can also suggest to the police to contact us, they have contact details to reach us directly at any time, any day (24/7).