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Human Trafficking and Professional Abuse

Viimati uuendatud: 25.02.2017


Human trafficking is an activity aiming to exploit other people by the trader, or enabling it to others. The notion of human trafficking involves both domestic and international activities. This means that human trafficking does not have to cross the state borders, it could also happen domestically. Human trafficking is basically modern slavery. Human traffickers could use fraud, threats, physical violence, defenceless state, and other methods to allure the victim and break their resistance.

Penal Code § 133 treats the following as human trafficking:

Placing a person in a situation where he or she is forced to work under unusual conditions, engage in prostitution, beg, commit a criminal offence or perform other disagreeable duties, or keeping a person in such situation, if such act is performed through deprivation of liberty, violence, deceit, threatening to cause damage, by taking advantage of dependence on another person, helpless or vulnerable situation of the person.

According to the Penal Code, a vulnerable situation is a situation where a person lacks an actual or acceptable opportunity not to commit any of the specified acts.

Professional abuse can be treated as an amount of situations, varying from lighter to extreme labour force exploitation forms. Human trafficking for the purpose of forced labour could be considered as the most severe case of professional abuse. Easier exploitation and pressurizing cases could be seen as less severe form of professional abuse.

ILO (2012) Lists 11 Likely Indicators of Forced Labour:

  • Abuse of the employee’s vulnerability.
  • Deception (e.g. knowingly giving false information about working conditions).
  • Restricting the employee’s movement, incl. detention, constant checking of the employee’s movements, or insensible limitations to the freedom of movement.
  • Social isolation, e.g. prohibiting or limiting contact with family, preventing looking for help.
  • The use of physical and/or sexual violence.
  • Intimidation and threats (e.g., threatening not to pay the salary, expose the illegal migrant workers to officials).
  • Retention of identity and travel documents.
  • Withholding or not paying the wages.
  • Debt bondage.
  • Abusive working and living conditions.
  • Forcing to work with excessive overtime.

It is not always clear whether the individual case should be identified as professional abuse, or even human trafficking on the purpose of forced labour. Several authors (Lisborg 2012, Skrivankova 2010) note that employees’ work experiences range from honest work to extreme forced labour.

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