NGOs and protection of victims

When it comes to protection of and assistance to victims, NGOs could:

Improve self-identification rates within migrant communities

The widespread belief that exploitation is normal, prevents victims from identifying themselves as a victim. Migrants who have a better understanding of social, housing and labour norms in the destination country could work for NGOs to share their knowledge within their community.

Be present during raids

NGOs could be asked to be present during raids by government agencies when one or more victims of THB for labour exploitation are expected. NGOs could for example provide cultural mediators to help agencies and victims communicate and could help give assistance to victims. When NGOs do this, however, they should be careful not to become an extension of the investigation services.

Discuss the extent of involvement in formal identification

When it comes to the process of formal recognition of a victim, NGOs could discuss with the organisation(s) in charge of the formal identification of victims to what extent the NGO is involved.

Support the organisation in charge of formal identification of victims

Since access to protection and assistance often depends on the formal recognition of victims, NGOs could consider supporting this process:

  • by participating in multi-agency panels
  • by seeking an advisory role in decision-making
  • by sharing information and opinions on individual cases, following ethical and legal codes of conduct.

Open their shelters and emergency accommodation

NGOs could provide shelter to (possible) victims who have not been formally recognised as victims. These victims would otherwise have to rely on informal support. Considering their often irregular status, this may make them vulnerable to re-trafficking or other forms of exploitation.

Read more about shelters for large groups of victims.

Map the available housing options for those not formally recognised as victims

NGOs could discuss with the relevant ministries the issue of housing for people who do not fit the definition of THB, but are vulnerable to THB or re-trafficking.

Provide outreach care to victims who have found accommodation elsewhere

Housing and basic needs are primary necessities for victims. Unfortunately, victims do not always stay at specialised shelters where these necessities could be provided.

Realise a safe environment for the victim to press charges

NGOs could offer to accompany the victim to the police when they are pressing charges. NGOs could also offer a special room on their premises for the use of police. This allows a possible victim to press charges in a familiar and trusted location.

Assign a dedicated contact person for mutual information sharing

For the sake of the victim, it could be helpful to have a dedicated contact person at the NGO for the exchange of information with partner organisations.

Set up internal procedures for giving information to partner organisations

NGOs often have a lot of information that could be of value to government organisations. Therefore, they need to draw up rules and procedures for sharing this information, including that information will only be shared with prior consent of the victim.

NGOs could for example consider sharing information with the embassy of the country of origin of the victim. Together with an NGO in the country of origin, the disclosure of information to the embassy could be discussed on a case-by-case basis.

Discuss with a victim how to increase their chances of getting a job

To increase the victims’ chances of getting a job, NGOs could:

  • map and inform victims about (alternative) options for language and/or vocational training
  • support the reintegration of victims by, for example, setting up fixed temporary job placement schemes or offering (paid) internships.

Conduct activities to prevent re-trafficking of victims

Besides researching the process of re-trafficking of victims, NGOs could organise activities to prevent re-trafficking:

  • by cooperating with the police and relevant authorities, to increase clarity on which factors influence a decision to give or deny access to the protection and assistance system, based on humanitarian grounds
  • by mapping the available options for those who do not fit the tight definition of THB, but may be vulnerable to THB or re-trafficking.

Set up contacts with NGOs in other countries

When a victim returns to their country of origin or moves to another country, they could benefit from contacts between NGOs. This could help when - with prior consent of the victim - psychosocial help and other forms of assistance need to be transferred to the colleagues abroad.

Read more

Read more general information on the protection of victims.