No one wants to be trafficked and lured into modern day slavery. Many people will think they have good enough awareness to be alert to the danger of trafficking, but after months or even years of looking for work, education or something better in their lives, a sense of desperation can take over and any offer to earn money or improve their situation may be impossible to refuse. Traffickers prey on vulnerable people who do not know what they are getting into and are desperate to escape their current circumstances. Here’s a checklist you can use to identify forced labor trafficking.
1. The right way to get a job.
Did you approach the place of work and apply, or did someone approach you and offer you work? Unless you have networked through people you know and trust to get a job, nearly all legitimate job offers will require you to seek out the job vacancy and apply. Remember, there is currently high unemployment of over 40% in Kenya. With such high competition for jobs it is highly unlikely that someone will just come up to you and offer you a job. Genuine employers don’t need to go and look for staff. Interested job seekers will come to them in high numbers. If you are approached unexpectedly and offered work, this could be the first warning sign of trafficking situation.
2. Presentation of the recruiter.
If someone approaches you and discusses an opportunity with you, they should be able to give you their full name, their position at the company, location of the work site, complete contact details (ideally a business card), and details for the next contact to be made between you and them. If they give you vague and incomplete details (remember a PO Box number is a not a physical address), it may be a trafficking situation. Nearly all jobs require an interview or a trial. If there is no talk of an interview or work trial to assess your suitability for the job, think twice about proceeding. NEVER allow some to come and pick you up in a vehicle and take you to a worksite without full disclosure of information beforehand.
3. Research and word of mouth.
If you are considering accepting a job offer you must do the following—research, research and more research. Get on the internet and do an internet search for the company. See if it has a website or at least a listing in an online phone directory. Use online maps to see where it is. Consider if it’s in a logical location for the type of business it is. Get some friends together and go and have a look at the worksite to confirm it exists and if it looks like a decent place to work. Ask family, friends and people you know who working in the relevant industry if they have heard of the company and if what you have been told sounds genuine to them. Listen to any concerns raised by people you trust and ask yourself if everything seems genuine.
4. Employment conditions.
Any genuine employer should be able to talk to you in detail about your work duties, where you will work, hours of work, rate of pay, how often you will be paid, tax and other deductions, pension payments, leave entitlements, relevant allowances, if you will have a workplace email address, if you need to supply your bank account number to be paid, and other important workplace conditions. You should also be given a written contract, including a definitive period that the contract will last, and be given time to read it in full before signing it if you choose to. If these employment matters are not discussed before you start or the employer has no interest in such things, you should reconsider taking the job and may be exposing yourself to trafficking.
5. Working in another country.
Any offer to get you a passport and visa with working rights in another country without you having to do anything is a false offer. Someone else cannot do this for you. To get a Kenyan passport you must attend an official Kenyan Immigration office, fill out an application form, provide your signature, and have your photo taken. Similarly with a visa for an-other country you must prepare the application yourself and most embassies will require you to attend in person. NEVER accept a passport and / or visa in your name obtained by another person.
6. Accepting a job.
Starting a new job is an exciting time, and it is something that most people will tell their family and friends about. Even if you don’t think it’s a good job, any employment can be a starting point for bigger things. Be sure to tell people close to you about your new job. They should be proud of you and supportive. Tell them what you will be doing, where it is, and when they can expect you home. Tell them how your day was. Be open about what you’re doing to have a greater chance of someone realizing something suspicious may be going on.
Checklist 2: Sexual Exploitation
Checklist 3: Child Trafficking