What is Forced Labor?
Forced labor occurs when individuals are compelled to provide work or service through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. This crime happens both in the United States and overseas, and victims rarely come forward to seek help because they may be unable to escape their environment, are too vulnerable to seek assistance, potential language barriers may exist, or they do not self-recognize as a victim.
Indicators of forced labor may take place during the worker’s recruitment process to force the acceptance of the job, to deceive the worker into an exploitative job, or to create debt bondage by charging recruitment fees that cannot be paid back reasonably. Once the person is working, an employer may force, defraud, or coerce the victim to do work not agreed to at the time of recruitment. Additionally, force, threats of harm, and other abusive practices may be used to prevent the victim from leaving the job. Threats may be against the victim or the victim's loved ones
Indicators of forced labor can be found here
The indicators are derived from theoretical and practical experience of the ILO’s Special Action
Programme to Combat Forced Labour (SAP-FL). They are based upon the definition of forced labour specified in the ILO Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) as:
- “all work or service which is exacted from any person
- under the menace of any penalty and for which the said
- Person has not offered himself voluntarily”.
The indicators are:
- Abuse of vulnerability
- Restriction of movement
- Physical and sexual violence
- Intimidation and threats
- Retention of identity documents
- Withholding of wages
- Debt bondage
- Abusive working and living conditions
- Excessive overtime
The presence of a single indicator in a given situation may in some cases imply the existence of forced labour. However, in other cases you may need to look for several indicators which taken together, point to a forced labour case. Overall, the set of eleven indicators covers the main possible elements of a forced labour situation, and hence provides the basis to assess whether or not an individual worker is a victim of this crime.