Indeed, human trafficking is a fact in Latvia. There have been cases of human beings trafficked for hard forced work abroad, yet more often children and women are given false promises and later on trafficked for sex slavery against their will. When estimating income from work in agriculture, the service sphere or au pair service, few people think of the fact that they can easily become a good source of income, by becoming a means of production in the hands of human traffickers.
If an individual can be sold for at least USD 1000, then, speaking in simple terms, the anticipated profit by the human trafficker from the use of the product (the victim) amounts to approximately USD 250 000.
Throughout the world human trafficking has become an influential business field of organized crime and is one of the most profitable, ranking next to drug trafficking, leaving trade in arms in the third place only.
Throughout the world 700 000 to 4 million people are trafficked and kept in forced slavery annually. Data from the International Organization for Migration reveals that every year approximately 2000 people become victims of human trafficking in the Baltic. Information on individuals working illegally or in forced labour abroad is inaccurate and insufficient.
In line with the report of the U.S. Embassy, Latvia is mainly a country of origin, from which people are trafficked to England, Ireland, Poland, Spain, Germany, Italy and Israel. It is a delusion that only people leaving Latvia for work are subjected to the risk of human trafficking. In Latvia, people from the countryside, where the level of unemployment is quite high, are trafficked to Riga and other big cities.
Before accepting a job offer abroad, it is advisable to gather as much information as possible in Latvia as well! As of January 2005 MARTA Centre provides a toll free hotline 67 378 539
- to get help if you suspect that you or a friend has become a victim of human trafficking
- report on cases of human trafficking in Latvia and abroad;
- gain the necessary information before leaving for work and residence abroad;
- get information on licensed employment agencies;
- learn on documents that are necessary when leaving for abroad;
- receive contact information of foreign diplomatic missions in Latvia and on Latvian embassies in other countries;
- get information on emergency offices and institutions in various countries outside Latvia;
- ppply for a legal consultation on a concluded labour agreement;
- get information on help to victims of human trafficking available in Latvia.