Human trafficking / Labour exploitation

Exploiting people in employment or services is a serious crime

Human trafficking with the aim of exploiting people in employment or services is a serious crime. Such cases contravene fundamental human rights, the Constitution and also the Dutch social security system. If people are forced to work in very poor conditions and circumstances, then this may represent a case of labour exploitation. The Netherlands Labour Authority combats these malpractices by identifying and detecting them. Signs of labour exploitation can be reported to the Expertise centre for human trafficking and human smuggling (Expertisecentrum Mensenhandel en Mensensmokkel, EMM).

When are employees exploited?

It is often easy to recognise situations in which employees are being exploited. Examples of signs of exploitation, when employees:

  • are required to do dangerous and unhealthy work;
  • are required to work long hours;
  • are paid too little, are not paid, or payment of their wages is postponed;
  • do not have access to their own passports;
  • are lured to the Netherlands under false promises;
  • are mistreated, blackmailed, forced or threatened;
  • are forced to pay off a large debt to the employer;
  • do not have access to the money on their own bank account;
  • are paid but the employer evades paying social security contributions and payroll taxes for them;
  • are not insured, for example against accidents;
  • are housed in an industrial building or area, or are accommodated badly in another way;
  • do not know the address of their own accommodation;
  • are placed under pressure in another way.

Exploitation can be found everywhere

Exploitation in employment or services occurs in all sectors and is certainly not limited to prostitution. This always involves vulnerable groups of people in the labour market. Moreover, in the majority of cases such situations have an international character. Duress, violence, threats, extortion, fraud and deception often play a role. Wherever possible, the Netherlands Labour Authority itself acts upon the signs of exploitation that she identifies. Victims themselves can contact the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Centre (Coördinatiecentrum Mensenhandel, CoMensha).
If you are being underpaid or are working under bad conditions, you can also make a complaint  to the Netherlands Labour Authority.