Working together to combat people trafficking and migrant exploitation

January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Law, Labor Law
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Working together to combat people trafficking and migrant exploitation May 2014

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment works closely with the NGO sector and community groups to raise awareness about people trafficking and migrant exploitation in the workplace. This resource has been prepared for those who are interested in learning about People Trafficking and Migrant Exploitation in New Zealand. It also contains information about how to report suspected cases of trafficking or exploitation. This material was accurate at the time of publication, but may not reflect any subsequent changes to legislation.

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS MODULE

WHY DO WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PEOPLE TRAFFICKING AND MIGRANT EXPLOITATION?

Eliminating people trafficking and migrant exploitation is a priority for the New Zealand government because: • • • • •

trafficking is a serious breach of human rights and a serious criminal offence migrants who are the victims of criminal offending shouldn’t be fearful of coming forward exploiting migrant workers who are working when they are not supposed to is a criminal offence employers who exploit migrants affect New Zealand’s reputation as a fair place to work, and make it more difficult for good employers to compete for business the New Zealand government protects all workers in New Zealand. Migrant workers have the same employment rights as all other workers in New Zealand.

Communities have an important role and can help fight trafficking and migrant exploitation by raising awareness and supporting victims to come forward to the relevant agencies.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

THE INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT

THE NEW ZEALAND CONTEXT

THE NEW ZEALAND LAW

TEMPORARY MIGRANTS ARE VULNERABLE TO EXPLOITATION IN THE WORKPLACE…

Unscrupulous employers may find it easy to take advantage of temporary migrants because temporary migrants: • • • • • • •

may not be familiar with their employment rights may have visa conditions that require them to work for a particular employer may be working without a visa or in breach of their visa conditions may be prepared to put up with poor working conditions, because the situation is preferable to the employment or employment conditions available to them in their home country cannot access social services or income support may lack adequate family or social assistance may be fearful of complaining.

Exploitation may occur within family-owned businesses or domestic settings. In these cases, the family relationships and situation of dependency make it even harder for the victim to speak up.

…YET THEY FACE BARRIERS TO SPEAKING OUT

Victims of trafficking or exploitation may not speak out because they: • fear arrest or deportation • are subject to threats of violence or abuse, or restrictions on their freedom of movement • fear stigmatisation, especially if trafficked for sexual exploitation • feel shame, for example if the family at home has supported them to come to New Zealand or is relying on money sent from New Zealand for support • mistrust officials, because of their experiences with corrupt authorities in their home countries • may not speak English well.

WHAT ABOUT THEIR IMMIGRATION STATUS?

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Communities can help victims of trafficking or migrant exploitation by: • knowing how to report any case of potential trafficking or migrant exploitation • being aware of the signs or indicators of trafficking or migrant exploitation • being aware of how to interact with potential victims. The following sections deal with these three areas.

REPORT IT

IF YOU ARE UNSURE ABOUT REPORTING YOUR SUSPICIONS…

Please feel assured that you are doing the right thing … • • •

Identifying migrant exploitation or people trafficking is very complex. Please report any situation that just doesn’t feel right – even if you are not sure about it. The right agencies will take the lead from there.

INDICATORS OF TRAFFICKING OR MIGRANT EXPLOITATION

INDICATORS OF TRAFFICKING OR MIGRANT EXPLOITATION

Some of the ways an employer may exploit a migrant employee include: • • • • • • •

Withholding their passport, travel documents, or money Underpayment (or non-payment) of wages (this often includes promises to “pay later”) Requiring an employee to pay their own wages Forcing an employee to work long hours, with no time off for holidays, or to seek medical care, and no over-time payments Unlawful deductions from wages eg to pay off debt, or a job “premium” Bullying, intimidating or threatening behaviour or comments such as threats of violence, jail or deportation Unacceptable accommodation arrangements.

INTERACTIONS WITH POSSIBLE VICTIMS

If you come across a person you believe to be in a trafficking situation, your first instinct may be to “rescue” them. But you should exercise caution because: • traffickers, and employers who employ trafficked employees, are criminals • the victim is a source of income for the employer, and they are unlikely to allow you to just remove them. Although the situation may be distressing for you, unprofessional or informal rescues may put you and the victim at risk.

INTERACTIONS WITH POSSIBLE VICTIMS

INTERACTIONS WITH POSSIBLE VICTIMS

If you have an opportunity to speak with the victim, and if you feel confident and are comfortable to do so, here are some tips for building rapport and keeping the environment safe for both you and the victim: • To avoid risking them to exposure, you may wish to keep discussions on neutral subjects such as health or culture • Watch for clues that the person is no longer comfortable speaking with you, eg if someone enters the room or walks by, the person may feel no longer at ease, or terminate the discussion • Be aware that asking about family can be upsetting. Questions that provoke a strong or emotional response may attract attention from the trafficker or employer.

If there is an urgent need to act, ring 111. Otherwise your best option is to leave the scene, and coolly consider what the next steps should be.

INTERACTIONS WITH POSSIBLE VICTIMS

If you have an opportunity to speak with the victim, and if you feel confident and are comfortable to do so, asking the right questions in a way that is sensitive to the situation, their culture and gender will help uncover the facts of the situation. • • • • • • • •

Are you OK to talk? Do you have access to your passport and money? Are you working to pay off debt to your employer? Where do you go shopping or sightseeing? Do you have contact with friends or family? Can you visit the doctor when you need to? Can you leave your workplace when you want to? Do you get paid too little money, or none at all?

Be observant – you will need to report what you have seen.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION…

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