Human trafficking behind deceptive offers: How to recognize them

Human trafficking behind deceptive offers: How to recognize them

The socio-health emergency of COVID-19 has had a strong impact on different social, economic and structural spheres, strongly affecting the most vulnerable social strata. These factors, together with the decrease in remittances and mobility restrictions, have facilitated the further development of human trafficking networks, which in turn have taken advantage of economic and social difficulties to develop new strategies to attract victims or increase their exploitation.

During the pandemic, human trafficking networks have devised various ways to capture or exploit their victims. The study by the Global Initiative indicates, for example, that there is an increase in online criminal activities, such as the sexual exploitation of minors. Nevertheless, practices related to trafficking networks vary, from labor exploitation to forced marriages.

In the midst of the social and health chaos that the pandemic has drawn throughout the world, it can be difficult to identify the illusory offers, designed by criminals. However, it is essential to learn to recognize and report suspected cases.

To help you identify them and be wary of misleading offers, here are eight recurring characteristics and common features of fraudulent offers to bear in mind and share with family and friends.


Common features of trafficking network offers

A fraudulent offer, which hides a human trafficking network,

  1. It is an incredible promise of work or study, and it may look exactly like what you have been wanting for a long time.
  2. It offers you a very high salary for a specific job, particularly for jobs that normally have lower remuneration, for example, with respect to the salary you received when you worked as a waiter / waitress or when you looked after children.
  3. It offers you the opportunity to travel and to facilitate the migratory and residence processes.
  4. It can even offer you a free trip to see a country, so that you can take your time to make your decision to move there.
  5. It promises to relocate you to far away countries that you have hardly ever heard of, offering a good job, arguing that there are no professionals or people who want to perform those functions there.
  6. It offers unbeatable conditions; for example, it guarantees you it will cover the expenses of your accommodation, food and basic services that would help you save save money.
  7. It can also permeate your love life. For example, through an unexpected marriage offer or an invitation by your new partner to meet his or her relatives who live in other countries or to move to other places that offer better living conditions.
  8. It can be found in internet chats, Facebook and other social networks. The latter are the ideal habitat for criminals behind a trafficking network, who can easily use a false identity and contact potential victims to gain their trust and ultimately deceive them. These offers tend to be more dangerous, since criminals can access our personal information that is available on the networks and contact us by using subjects that interest us, then getting our attention and inviting us to answer them.

If you receive an offer that looks like one or some of the examples mentioned above, be wary of that.

Human trafficking is a real threat. To take care of everyone's safety and well-being, learning to recognize such illusory offers is a key step towards the crucial goal of ending human trafficking.

7 recommendations to promote the inclusion of migrants in host communities through social and cultural activities.

Categoria: Pacto Mundial sobre Migración
Autor: Carlos Escobar

The promotion of social and cultural activities as a mechanism to encourage interaction between migrants and host communities with the aim of advancing in the construction of more just and peaceful societies, is currently a topic of special interest in studies, policies and programs on migrant inclusion and social cohesion.

Taking Intergroup Contact Theory (IGCT) as a reference, different researches argue that the interaction of people from different places and contexts, under the right circumstances, favors trust and the change of xenophobic or discriminatory perceptions. Thus, intergovernmental agreements such as the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration have integrated this perspective into their theoretical and conceptual body. In particular, Goal 16 "Empower migrants and societies to achieve full inclusion and social cohesion", calls for the creation of community centres or programs at the local level to facilitate the participation of migrants in the receiving society by engaging migrants, community members, diaspora organizations, migrant associations and local authorities in intercultural dialogue, exchange of experiences, mentoring programs and the creation of business linkages that enhance integration outcomes and foster mutual respect.

Based on the analysis and review of different research, the IOM, in its publication The Power of Contact: Designing, Facilitating and Evaluating Social Mixing Activities to Strengthen Migrant Integration and Social Cohesion Between Migrants and Local Communities – A Review of Lessons Learned, proposes a series of recommendations, based on empirical evidence, to encourage the participation of migrants and receiving communities in social and cultural activities.

1). Fun and goal-oriented

Designing and incorporating fun and exciting activities leads to a lighter and more welcoming environment for people to meet, interact and create social bonds. At the same time, setting common goals, which neither group can achieve without the participation of the other (cooperative interdependence), makes the activities more engaging and participatory.

2). Mutual appreciation

Participants should understand, recognize and appreciate culture, traditions and history as part of the process of bridging differences, maximizing each other's strengths and identifying commonalities. It is important that all individuals are able to identify how their contributions can have a positive impact on the achievement of common goals.

3). Shared ownership

Involving migrants and local communities in all phases of activities will increase their participation. This ownership empowers them, raises their self-esteem and opens up new opportunities for responsibility and commitment.

4). Guided Reflection

Dialogues and activities that allow for a certain degree of reflection help to create an atmosphere that is perceived as trusting, friendly and warm. Processing information and sharing personal and sensitive stories, which can evoke memories, are of utmost importance as long as they are carefully guided and accompanied by facilitators or project members.

5). Supervision and Trust Facilitation

Those responsible for group interactions, such as team leaders, facilitators, project staff or event planners, must play an active role in promoting equality within intergroup relations and creating an inclusive environment for all. This deliberate effort is crucial to overcome the natural tendency of participants to group themselves according to their most salient characteristics and status.

6). Sustained and regular intervention

It goes without saying that the more frequent, prolonged and intensive the participation, the better the attitude of each individual towards others. This means adopting an approach that rethinks the role of the people involved, who in turn will define the needs of their communities and ultimately take part in the design and organization of appropriate interventions.

7). Institutional support and partnership

The support of institutions such as local governments, media, government agencies and intermediary organizations is critical to promoting and facilitating constructive efforts to strengthen intergroup relations. The coordination of these institutions creates a system that can provide resources and incentives to promote and strengthen intergroup relations.

Social and cultural activities, understood as a programmatic intervention strategy to facilitate the inclusion of migrants in receiving communities, are important to the extent that they offer non-institutional spaces for interaction, where through spontaneous human contact, social ties are built based on experiences, stories, emotions and life trajectories of the participants. This facilitates the generation of trust between individuals, greater degrees of social cohesion and, of course, peaceful coexistence in communities, understood not only as the absence of conflict, but also as a positive, dynamic and participatory process in which dialogue is promoted and conflicts are resolved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation, through the acceptance of differences, the ability to listen, recognize, respect and appreciate others. (UN, 2021).