Exchange of information at the national level

Most organisations only see part of the trafficking process. For a more complete overview of what is happening, or a more complete picture of a specific case, organisations need to put their information together. This should enable them to give each individual case and each individual victim a tailor-made response. Before sharing information, organisations need to make sure this is allowed under the rules for data protection. Information provided by a victim may only be shared with the approval of the victim.

To detect as many cases of THB for labour exploitation as possible, member states could:

Encourage their implementing bodies to actively look for cases of THB for labour exploitation

Since THB for labour exploitation can be difficult to detect, it is important to encourage implementing bodies to actively try to detect signs of this phenomenon.

Provide organisations with a list of indicators

Many organisations, especially those for whom tackling THB for labour exploitation is not their primary responsibility, will need some guidance to be able to recognise its signs. A list of indicators, if necessary tailored to the environment in which they operate, can be a helpful tool.

The EuroTrafGuID project led by France developed a list of indicators. The list is part of the ‘Practical tool for First level identification of victims of human trafficking for labour exploitation’.

The UK’s Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) has produced the ‘Spotting the Signs’ booklet for a similar purpose. It is available in English and Polish.

Draw up guidelines for data collection

National legislation determines if and how organisations can share signs of THB for labour exploitation and other types of information with other organisations, and under which conditions. It can be useful to draw up guidelines, or an agreement between the partners involved. This may clarify the roles and responsibilities of the organisations involved in collecting signs of THB for labour exploitation, and the data protection rules that apply.

Set up procedures on disclosing information about clients

For example, when disclosing information to embassies and Ministries of Foreign Affairs. NGOs could advise other agencies on discretion in their contacts with other agencies.

Collect more signs of THB for labour exploitation

Collecting minor indications of THB for labour exploitation can be very helpful. On their own, these signs may only be a piece of the puzzle, since most organisations only see a fragment of the trafficking process. They may not provide a recognizable pattern that suggests that exploitation is occurring. However, when taken together, several minor indications may give a clearer picture and enable the start of a case of THB for labour exploitation.

For example, border guards may notice persons crossing the border that could be victims and/or perpetrators of THB for labour exploitation. But the signs might not be strong enough to intervene straight away. The border guards could talk to the possible victims and suspects, and make sure that they register all the relevant information, such as names, number plates and reasons for coming to the country. When the victim is ready to press charges at a later stage, but does not know details such as full names, this early information could be very useful. Obviously, whether this is feasible depends on issues such as the priority given to the collection of these signs, the data protection rules that apply and so on.

Use a system for multidisciplinary exchange of information

Member states could consider using a national multidisciplinary system for collecting and analysing signs of THB for labour exploitation from all partners involved. It is important that signs of THB for labour exploitation are collected from multiple sources and then analysed for possible links. This may increase the chance of identifying cases.

Bringing the signs together could also give insight into the scale of the problem of THB for labour exploitation. The feasibility of such a system depends on the data protection rules that apply and on logistical considerations.

An example of a system for multidisciplinary exchange of information exists in Italy, where the government has launched a website to collect and share information on THB.

Share information on trends

Next to sharing signs of THB for labour exploitation, it is also important to share information on trends. If one organisation identifies a new trend in the area of THB for labour exploitation, they should share this with their partners, who might otherwise miss the signs of this new type of THB.

For example, embassies or Immigration Liaison Officers of member states in source countries could be the first to come across a new type of THB for labour exploitation, or a new modus operandi. They should share information about this trend with the relevant authorities in their own country, so these authorities are ready to cope with it when it reaches their country.

In the same way, the relevant authorities in destination countries (for example, law enforcement agencies and local governments) could share information about trends they come across with their Ministries of Foreign Affairs. That way, embassies and consulates can look out for these trends during the visa process.

More about trends and statistics.

Involve all relevant organisations in identifying signs

Signs of THB for labour exploitation can come from many different sources and can be detected in many ways. For example, churches could come into contact with possible victims of THB for labour exploitation that may not otherwise come to the attention of the authorities.

Signs could also be picked up by looking closely at the paperwork that individuals or organisations have to submit to government agencies during certain procedures. It is therefore important to consider which organisations could contribute when signs of THB are collected. A list of organisations and activities during which they could detect signs of THB for labour exploitation is available on this website.

For example, in Luxembourg, a victim of THB for labour exploitation was identified by school teachers.

Another example of information exchange is the Government Agencies Intelligence Network (GAIN) in England and Wales. The GAIN network facilitates the exchange of information between public sector enforcement agencies. Read more about what makes the GAIN network successful.

Inform professionals - and the general public - where to report signs

Procedures for the collection of signs of THB for labour exploitation need to be communicated well, so that people know where they can report those signs. This is important for reporting within organisations and from those organisations to the central collection point. Read more about raising awareness amongst professionals.

If citizens come across signs of THB for labour exploitation, they should be able to easily find a phone number to report these signs, for example through a website. The number could be a THB helpline, the general police number or a number to report crime anonymously. Read more about raising awareness amongst the general public.

Provide feedback on the signs reported

It is important to let the organisations that have reported signs know what has happened with those signs. For example, whether they have led to an investigation. This will show these organisations that their efforts are appreciated. It may help to keep them committed to identifying THB for labour exploitation.