Labor exploitation

SOS: 0800 11111

Labor exploitation is the second most prevalent form of human trafficking in the entire Balkans. In the world most often this exploitation takes place in the agricultural, industrial, textile and catering sectors.

The term labor exploitation means trafficking in human beings for the purposes listed as forced labor services, slavery, and other forms of economic exploitation that may be indicative of or lead to such practices.

The European Agency for Fundamental Rights defines the term hard labor exploitation as all forms of exploitation which are criminal under the law of the Member State in which the exploitation occurs. Note that the term labor exploitation is also sometimes used to refer to a wider range of violence in labor standards or laws that do not increase to the level of crime or trafficking, such as non-payment of wages, certain types of dangerous working conditions. and recruiting unskilled staff.

Of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labor, 16 million are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture;

4.8 million people in forced sexual exploitation and 4 million people in forced labor imposed by state authorities.

Forced labor is any work or service that people are forced to do against their will, under threat of punishment. Almost all practices of slavery contain some element of forced labor.

Forced labor can be understood as work performed involuntarily and under threat of punishment. Refers to situations in which individuals are forced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means, such as manipulated debt, withholding of identity documents, or threats of waiver by immigration authorities.

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labor, accounting for 99% of victims in the sex trade industry and 58% in other sectors.

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is the movement or recruitment of people, through fraud or coercion, for the purpose of exploitation. Human trafficking is a place where people are threatened, coerced or deceived in situations that allow them to be exploited. Human trafficking can take place within one’s own country or across borders. There are many forms of exploitation in which people can be trafficked and enslaved.

The most common forms of human trafficking are:

  • Sexual exploitation
  • Labor exploitation
  • Home servility
  • Forced marriage
  • Forced begging
  • Forced crime
  • Children soldiers
  • Sale of organs

In RNM, child abuse through forced sexual exploitation and forced marriages remain the dominant forms of THB. During 2019, the institutions identified 6 victims of human trafficking, of which 4 children / women, 3 nationalities of RNM, 3 are foreign victims, two from Kosovo and 1 from BiH.


Slavery under the UN Conventions is defined as: “the status or condition of a person subject to any or all of the powers associated with the right to property”. Slavery is much more than forced labor. All slavery involve forced labor, but not all cases of forced labor involve slavery. The international ban on slavery is absolute, there are no exceptions (as they exist for forced labor).

Slavery is an institution in which the master of slaves uses his property rights by destroying a human person, that is, the person as the holder of rights, and reduces the robot to the subject without right. Slavery is considered a complete system of ownership.

For more information-slavery.

Debt bondage (or slave job)

The additional UN Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, Slave Trade and Slavery-like institutions and practices include debt slavery as a slavery-like practice. Debt slavery, as it is said, is a status or condition arising from the pledge of the debtor to his personal services or to those of the person under his control as a debt security, if the value of those services, if reasonably estimated, is not used for the liquidation of the debt, or the length and nature of those services are not adequately limited and “defined” (Additional UN Convention, Art. 1)

For more information – Debt bondage

Forced work

The International Instrument for the Elimination of Forced Labor is within the framework of the ILO, which is a specialized UN agency. [1] There is no separate UN Convention on Forced Labor, but the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights prohibits most forms of “forced labor”. [2] ILO Convention on Forced Labor No. 29 contains the following definition: Forced or compulsory labor is any work or service that is imposed by any person under the threat of any penalty and for which it has not been offered voluntarily. [3] The means of punishment includes threats of physical violence against worker or relatives, physical detention and denial of rights [4]. The ban on forced labor in the Convention is not absolute (since the prohibition of slavery is absolute), since certain forms of forced labor for (a) military service are permitted, (b) when it is part of the “normal civil obligations of citizens , “(C) a conviction for carrying out a work for a public authority, (d) where necessary in” emergency cases “and (d)” minor communal services “by members of the community for the community (ILO Convention no. 29, Article 2.2). Later, the ILO Convention also prohibits the use of forced labor for political and economic purposes or as a means of labor discipline or punishment.

[5] It is important to note that, however, the two conventions do not prohibit the use of the labor of prisoners; they only set limits on its use. Historically, governments have used forced labor for public projects such as road construction and so on.

For more information-Forced work.

[1] The ILO was founded in 1919, in anticipation of a destructive war to pursue a vision based on the premise that universal lasting peace can only be achieved if it is based on social justice. The ILO became the first specialized UN agency in 1946. [2] (ICCPR, Article 8.3). [3] For the legal meaning of forced labor, see ILO 2009 (b). [4] (ILO 2005, 5). [5] (ILO Convention No. 105, Art. 1). [1] (Slavery UN Convention, Article 1 (1).) [1] Furthermore, the abbreviation UN shall be used in the text [2] ILO / European Commission (2009): Operational indicators of THB; Results from a Delphi survey implemented by the ILO and the European Commission. Geneva: ILO [3] Skrivankova K., 2011 Between decent work and forced labor: examining the continuum of exploitation, JRF program paper: Forced Labor, November 2011 [4] ILO Core Labor Standards: 1949 . 98, 1930 Forced Labor Convention No. 29, 1957 Abolition of Forced Labor Convention No. 105, 1951 Equal Remuneration Convention No. 100, [5] B. Andrees, Forced Labor and Trafficking in Europe: How People Are Trapped in, Working Through and Out (Working paper ILO, Geneva, 2008) p. 22.

How to spot the signs of labor exploitation

By noticing the signs, you can help yourself or another person.

  • You are forced to work overtime (without being paid for it) and you are forced to perform tasks for which you are not hired
  • You receive threats to your life or to the life of a family member or loved one
  • You do not have free access and you do not have free disposal of your earnings / salary
  • There illegal salary deductions
  • You work in an unsafe and unhealthy work environment with long working hours
  • There is a failure to fulfill promises regarding salary or regular payment, legal status, conditions or type of work
  • You are locked in the workplace
  • You can not leave the workplace freely, or you are, in any other way, restricted from leaving the workplace
  • You are physically and / or sexually abused
  • Your ID card or passport has been confiscated
  • You do degrading, dirty, or dangerous work without proper protection
  • You are disciplined through penalties (physical and monetary)
  • Your workplace is monitored by surveillance cameras, you are locked and / or isolated in remote locations with no means of transportation available
  • You work a long hours and / or days without a break, without days off and without the right to sick leave, outside the prescribed national legislation and without the right to appea
How to recognize fake job offers
  • Before applying for a job, look at the warning signs that will help you determine if it is fraudulent. If you are unsure, take the time to research the agency / company.
  • Visit the company’s website and if they do not have or do not fit the way they describe the company, think something is wrong. How professional is she? Is there contact information? Are jobs and career information posted on the site?
  • Serious bidders usually have their own domain and do not send emails and bids from public domains such as Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. This may be the first sign that something is wrong with your offer.
    You can check the domain of the site / site and information about the IP user at
  • Bidders who have their headquarters usually also have a landline phone, not just a mobile phone.
  • You have the right to check the company’s recommendations and they will check you. Ask for a list of partners and contact the references to ask about the company.
  • When it comes to foreign phone numbers, check the number or email address on Google or another search engine. Sometimes the same phone number or e-mail is used to advertise different offers and ads that are not related to each other, which can be a sign of fraud.
  • Through the websites or, you can check if any of the listed phone numbers have been used for fraud before.
  • Search for the name of the person you communicated with, sometimes information about people under that name can already be found on pages where spam and emails are reported for money laundering, etc. Very often on LinkedIn you can find relevant information about the person who works in the company that has published the job offer.
  • Compare all company data from the official presentation with the contacts you received. The authors of fake companies are trying to make everything look pretty convincing, but some details can be revealed. They often use pictures they find on the Internet, for their Skype profile, or to submit them through a website or Facebook.
  • Avoid job advertisements abroad that are urgently looking for workers, because it is most often about scams or offers for illegal jobs, “Undeclared work”.
  • If the offer does not require special education, experience or knowledge of the language and offers a very high salary, be careful because it may be fraud or an attempt at abuse or exploitation. When it comes to legal employment abroad, the employer usually has to prove that he / she cannot find a person with a suitable education in that country before he / she can hire a person from another country. If you agree to work illegally, you must be aware of the risks you are taking. This usually means that in the event of an inspection, you will also be responsible for not registering, you will usually be required to leave the country, and you will probably be barred from entering the European Union for a certain period of time. In addition, it is likely that you will have to pay a fine, which is not small. Also, if the employer does not respect the verbal “agreement” that you concluded before leaving, you will not be able to file a lawsuit with the competent authorities.
  • Information on registered licensed employment agencies available on the website of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy
What to do before you decide on your future job
  • Get acquainted with the labor rights in the Republic of North Macedonia or in the country where you want to work !!

Everyone has the right to work, free choice of employment, protection at work and material security during temporary unemployment. Everyone, under equal conditions, has access to every job. Every employee has the right to adequate earnings. Every employee is entitled to paid daily, weekly and annual leave. Employees cannot waive these rights.

(Article 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia)

  • Be careful what kind of work contract you sign !!!

The only relevant means of verifying the correctness of a particular offer is the contract with the employer, because it regulates the obligations and responsibilities of the employer and the employee. In this regard, you should determine in advance all the ambiguities regarding the contract and take a copy for yourself from the contract itself. The employment contract should contain information about the employer as well as the employee, position or area of ​​work, details of salary or financial assistance, working hours, place of employment, overtime work, social security and other benefits, conditions of entry, residence and work abroad.

  • Research before you travel abroad !!

Bring contacts with you from civic associations, trade unions and institutions in the country you are traveling to. Inform the family or trusted person about where you will be staying or working (address, telephone), contact from the employer and travel details.

Leave a copy of all the documents and your latest photo. For more information on traveling abroad

  • Always keep your passport with you and do not give it to anyone except officials or police!

If you suspect that someone is a potential victim or victim of human trafficking, report the case to the free SOS hotline 0800 11 111, which is open 24/7.
Report a violation of labor rights in: STATE LABOR INSPECTORATE – CENTRAL Blvd. Partisan Squads no. 48A, Skopje +389 (0) 2 3116 110; +389 (0) 2 296 310

If you want more information or if you wish to report a possible case of labor exploitation, please contact

SOS line for helpline for trafficking in human beings
0800 111 11
Working hours: 24/7