Exploitation of a victim of trafficking
Offenders usually target victims who they think could be in a weak or vulnerable position and therefore defenceless. For example:
irregular stay in another country
low level of education or having no education
mental health problems and earlier traumatic experiences or
belonging to a group that is discriminated against or looked down on in society
...may expose a person to exploitation.
The victim’s consent to exploitation may not make a difference
At first the victim may have consented to something, for example being procured for prostitution or working on poor terms. However, gradually the balance of power between the victim and the offender changes, and the victim is no longer able to leave the situation.
The offender may have exploited the victim’s vulnerable position. For example, the offender may have persuaded the victim to work in extremely poor conditions, knowing that the victim would have no other choice to earn even a little money for a basic livelihood.
Forcing an underage person to fall victim to human trafficking is a crime, even if the victim has agreed to act as requested at every stage.
Victims may have been deceived
Deception or taking advantage of the victim’s mistake are also means to subject someone to exploitation.
The offender may have deceived the victim about the terms of the activity. For example, the victim may have travelled to another country not knowing that it will lead to exploitation.
Later on, the true nature of the activities may be revealed. For example, a modelling agreement may result in exploitation in the sex industry. Or a promised good job may turn out to be forced labour for a clothing manufacturer.
The main point, however, is that the victim is unable to leave the situation without serious consequences.
Exploitation has far-reaching consequences to victims
Long-term exploitation and restriction of freedom may cause many physical, mental, social and financial problems for the victim.
Victims may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental illnesses. The vic-tim’s physical health may have suffered as a result of exploitation, for example due to heavy labour or physical abuse. Sexual exploitation may also lead to many problems with sexual health.
Victims may be socially isolated from their community and family. Because they were trafficked or in order to survive trafficking, victims may have had to act in ways that would not be accepted by their community. A victim may have been forced to commit criminal acts and to take the punishment for them in case they got caught. Exploitation may also have caused the victim to lose their money and assets and fall into debt.