Indicators of Trafficking for Forced Labour

In Canada, men, women, and children may be recruited by individuals or through employment agencies that may charge exorbitant fees for visa applications or transportation. Internationally trafficked persons may enter Canada legally, for example with a visitor or student visa, or they may enter Canada using false or forged documents.

People trafficked for forced labour may work just about anywhere: in legitimate settings, such as a farm, a food-processing plant, a technology factory, a construction site, a restaurant or hotel; or in illegal settings, such as a drug lab. They may be highly skilled, but not working in their skill area. They may receive little or no pay, while others must submit all or a large part of their earnings to the traffickers. They may experience threats of violence and threats of deportation from their traffickers.

In the following video, Professor Benjamin Perrin talks about the
indicators of forced labour trafficking.

My Story: [The traffickers] told me that I was going to get paychecks every two weeks and my contract said $12.15 in one hour, so I got excited that I was going to get paid. They also told me I would have to pay $80 to get my paycheck and they told me I would have to pay $400 every week. I could not say anything to them because of my language and because I didn’t want to go back to Latin America – it’s a horrible situation and I am so scared to go back there. There was nothing I could do, I didn’t know anyone and I was sad and scared.

- Clara

Forced Labour Indicators

(Transcript for the Forced Labour Indicators video.)

Red Flags: You learn or suspect that the person: Lives in the same place that they work, possibly with a number of others. Lives in an unsuitable place, of sub-standard quality such as a basement, old barn or storage shed. Works for very long hours – more than eight hours a day or more than five days a week. Works in unhealthy or unsafe conditions. Does not have a contract for the work they are doing, or was forced to sign an illegal contract. Cannot leave their current job, but won’t say why. Receives no pay or receives less than minimum wage for their work, or is required to pay a portion of their wages to someone else. Receives no benefits from their work, such as sick leave or overtime. Has fines taken off their pay if they do something wrong. Must pay for tolls, food, accommodation and/or transportation out of their wages. You may also notice that the person: Does not have the right clothing or protective gear for their job, for example steel-toed boots and a helmet for someone who works on a construction site. Is qualified for a particular job, but is working in a different one – for example, a qualified plumber is working to clear brush in the forest. If you go to a job site, you may see: The absence of health and safety notices on the walls. The absence of health and safety equipment.


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