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Human trafficking and forced labor awareness

Every day people are deceived or forced into a life no one would choose – sold into the sex trade, locked up in sweat shops, made to work for little or no pay. They are victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking is a crime and it can exist anywhere. Human trafficking is also avoidable if you know what to look out for.

Prevent trafficking

Prevention is the first step in combatting human trafficking. Prevention requires your awareness and action.

The U.S. Department of State has established the Au Pair Exchange Visitor Program that requires host families be interviewed in person and screened before they are allowed to hire au pairs on a legitimate J-1 visa. The U.S. Au Pair Program regulations require that a local director closely monitor the relationship between a host family and their au pair. Make use of government sponsored exchange visitor programs to benefit from the added layer of screening, reporting and security inherent in a regulated program.

As the worldwide leader in au pair placements, GreatAuPair works cooperatively with all U.S. Department of State J-1 Au Pair Program Sponsors.

GreatAuPair provides information, resources and screening tools such as online interviews, background checks and reference checking services as a first step in learning about a potential employer. For your safety and protection, your investigation of any employment-living situation should include the following:

  • Consider and only accept legal work
  • Hold live video interviews over Skype
  • Verify employer’s personal references
  • Criminal and sexual predator background check
  • Written job description and employment agreement
  • Verification of spouse and children (names ages and location)
  • Employer’s employment verification
  • Proof of acceptable living conditions
  • Local police contact numbers
  • Ensure nearby transportation options

As a means of combatting fraud and trafficking, GreatAuPair sends every registered member an email that provides information and resources to help them recognize potentially dangerous or fraudulent situations.

GreatAuPair employs numerous security and fraud-prevention measures, which you can learn more about in our Security Center. However, you should not rely solely on the broad protections available through any website or service. For your safety and protection, you must apply your own good judgment in hiring anyone or accepting a job only after you have performed thorough due diligence yourself.

Trafficking warning signs

There are numerous ploys used by traffickers, some through dating sites where victims are offered free travel for the promise of love, marriage, a visa or green card, or an employer seeking a waitress, interpreter, factory worker, assistant or virtually any other type of employee. Since there is no formula, you have to apply sound judgment and common sense: look past the job to consider the entire situation surrounding the job offer.

Job promises as bait

Common bait used by sex and human traffickers is the promise of a well-paying job in a foreign country. A job that sounds easy, fun and pays well is a common ploy. If someone offers you big money to be a waitress, hostess, model, dancer or traveling companion, or to just hang out, you’d be wise to avoid the potential trap.

If you encounter a potential employer who is unwilling to disclose details about the job or past employees, won’t provide verifiable references, resists a background check or suggests a loose moral arrangement of any kind, cease discussions and move on.

Report suspicious members

If you suspect that a GreatAuPair member may be trying to bait you into a sex or trafficking scheme or other illegal activity, please report the member to the support staff immediately. Meanwhile, here are some simple tips to help keep you safe:

  • Take your time in getting to know someone.
  • Don’t be rushed into accepting any job without proper due diligence.
  • Be skeptical. Ask detailed and informed questions.
  • Be sure you get truthful answers. Crosscheck facts and details.
  • Evaluate multiple job opportunities.
  • Only consider and accept legal jobs.
  • Always provide your travel details to family before leaving home.
  • Set up a predefined schedule of contact with your family.

Resources

  • The Human Trafficking website is an excellent source of information about trafficking across the world.
  • The United States Department of Justice runs the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW), that contains a database of all convicted sex offenders in the US and Puerto Rico. If you would like more information on a particular jurisdiction or state, click here.

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