What is exploitation? How do I know if I am being exploited?

Exploitation refers to the act in which the employers abuse their power or authority and harmfully uses and maximises the labour of the migrant worker to their benefits. Based on ILO’s standards, the following are some of the indicators of labour exploitation:

Strong indicators:

  • Excessive working days or hours
  • Bad living conditions
  • Hazardous work
  • Low or no salary

Medium indicators:

  • No respect of labour laws or contracts signed
  • No social protection (health care insurance, etc.)
  • Very bad working conditions
  • Wage manipulation

Exploitation becomes forced labour when an exploitative situation becomes regular occurrence, and any agreement originally made is void by imposing a penalty or threat. The indicators for forced labour are:

  • Abuse of vulnerability
  • Deception
  • Restriction of movement
  • Isolation
  • Physical or sexual violence
  • Intimidation and threats or confiscation of identity documents
  • Withholding of wages or debt bondage
  • Abusive working or living conditions
  • Excessive and unpaid overtime