Human trafficking happens when a person is tricked, trapped or coerced into being exploited for another person’s private gain or profit. It is a crime and can take various forms, such as sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude, slavery or similar practises, gender-based violence, forced begging or criminality.
Many people will want to help you on your journey and after you arrive in Belgium. However, not everyone may be who they say they are; some people may have different intentions and may wish to take advantage of your situation.
For example, they may promise you accommodation, transport, or free food, and use this as a way to pressure you into sexual acts, work or other services you do not agree with. Or they may want to harm you or take your documents or other belongings. If you believe you are a victim of trafficking, or you have a suspicion that someone else is, you should contact the Belgian police force, who are available to help.
In case of emergency or if you are under an imminent threat, please call 101/112.
You can also contact the police:
- At your local police station
- Other relevant emergency numbers: Other emergency numbers (112.be)
Every contact with the police will be treated in strict confidence.
You can furthermore approach one of the below mentioned three Belgian centres on Human Trafficking, depending on the region where you are located:
- PAG-ASA (Brussels): Do you think you are a victim? – PAG-ASA – ,
- Telephone number: + 32 (0) 25116464
- PAYOKE (Flanders): Payoke | Contact
- Telephone number: _+32 (0) 32011690
- SURYA (Wallonia) : SÜRYA – Un parcours vers la dignité (asblsurya.org)
- Telephone number : +32 (0) 42324030
For further information, please also consult the following website of the Belgian government: I am being exploited – Ukraine (info-ukraine.be)
There are signs you can look for to keep yourself and your family safe. For example, be alert if someone:
- is asking for your passport or other identification documents (apart from public authorities, for example at immigration check points);
- is asking for your phone, laptop or other means of communication;
- wants to remove you from your family or others you are travelling with;
- is offering you a job that sounds too good to be true;
- is pressuring you to perform work, services or sex (including to repay ‘debts’);
- is offering you assistance – such as food – only if you do ‘services’;
- is promising to help you get registered, relocated or resettled to another country for payment (except for regular transportation fees);
- is hiring you but not paying you, or paying only part of what was promised;
- is hiring you, but not giving you decent working conditions or limiting your movement, for example by taking your documents or locking the door.
There are steps you can take to stay safe:
- Be alert and follow your own intuition about people you don’t know.
- Always hold onto your documents. Take copies of them on your phone and send them to someone you trust.
- Keep in touch with your family and other people you trust.
- Know your rights and where you can access help.
- Seek reliable information from trusted sources.
If you are looking for a place to stay:
- The Federal reception Agency, Fedasil, offers and supports applicants for international protection, and holders of temporary protection with (finding) housing.
- Use organised accommodation by known organisations, if possible.
- If using an online service provider, make sure to select hosts that have a positive rating and look at the reviews on the page.
- If you stay with private individuals, try to ask around about the person first. You can ask the person to show you their identity document. Don’t accept to be removed from your family or those you arrived with, and don’t give away your documents. Ask if anything is expected of you in return and always agree on a price on beforehand. Tell someone you trust where you will be staying and whom you will be staying with.
If you are looking for transportation:
- Use organised transportation by known providers, as far as this is possible.
- Don’t accept to be removed from your family or those you arrived with, and don’t give away your documents. Always agree on a price on beforehand.