STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Workers’ Rights Campaign

Workers' Rights Report

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Since 2022, Albanian and Romanian nationals were identified as one of the communities at a high risk of homelessness and trafficking, particularly in these three boroughs: Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea. Most of the people concerned are young (25-44) and work in construction or car washes. They have been recruited through false job offers or through acquaintances back in Romania or Albania. The exploitative conditions they face include abuse, being denied rest or leave, and poor accommodation provided by employers.

Between October and December 2023, STOP THE TRAFFIK Group (STTG) launched a social media prevention campaign that geo-targeted Romanians in London who live or work in Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea. The campaign’s aim was to raise awareness about labour exploitation and spread information about how to stay safe and how to access local support.

An offline version of this campaign in the form of an information booklet was created for Albanians in these neighbourhoods because of the limited support organisations available to the Albanian-speaking community. Both campaigns were conducted by STTG with the support of local authorities and health and law enforcement agencies.

The objectives of our social media campaigns, which are at the heart of our prevention model at STTG, focus on:

1. Increased perception of risk

Emphasize the prevalence of false job ads, deceptive recruitment processes, and exploitation risks

2. Gained knowledge

Know one’s rights in London/the UK
Know where to seek support
Know how to stay safe

3. Preventative behaviour

Take precautionary actions to avoid exploitation from happening in the first place

Our campaign’s results shows that 4.291 Romanians in London saw our ads, making us reach 149% of our target audience. We also generated 2.935 unique click links on our surveys and landing page, which means that almost 3.000 individuals accessed information on how to stay safe. Our safeguarding procedures relies on our networks of signposting partners which include the Medaille Trust, Salvation Army, Hope for justice and many more who provided support services to victims.

The key takeaways

The key takeaways that came from this campaign, including our pre- and post-campaign surveys, are that most workers were aware of the signs of physical exploitation but needed more information on the psychological and emotional manifestations of exploitation. Some of the respondents also mentioned not knowing where to look for support previously, which we addressed by giving the contact details of support organisations.

As our campaign came to an end, we created a list of recommendations for future projects. It includes the importance of researching the experiences of Romanian and Albanian communities with regards to exploitation to make preventative work as contextual as possible. We also emphasized the greater need for legal advice to help migrants fully grasp their rights. Finally, our target communities lacked awareness of mental health support groups, a key service that victims need to be signposted to.

ALBANIANS IN LONDON Brochure (Albanian)

ALBANIANS IN LONDON Brochure (English)

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