The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the economic problems and shortcomings of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova. That is why, even during travel restrictions, with closed borders, many Moldovans have sought solutions, often illegal or semi-legal, to go abroad for work. And with the overcoming of the pandemic and the removal of international travel restrictions, Moldovans who used to work based on seasonal employment contracts (or verbal agreements) in EU countries have become even more vulnerable.
The data collected by the counsellors of the Hotline for Safe Migration and Anti-Trafficking 0 800 77777 show that, in the first half of 2021, the interest of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova to go abroad for work increased. Calls for employment abroad constituted 55% of all prevention calls. And a large part of them were related to offers that involved increased risks consciously accepted by citizens (the lack of an employment contract being one of the most common).
Taking into account the post-pandemic reality, on the occasion of the anti-trafficking week (October 18-24), La Strada team continues to carry out public awareness-raising activities, pointing out the main rules and recommendations for employment abroad in legal and safe conditions. Tens of thousands of information materials are distributed across the country, with the support and involvement of Border Police employees.
Hotline and Anti-Trafficking Hotline Specialists 0 800 77777 mention that any citizen should take a short "test" before going to work abroad to make sure that she/he has taken all the safety measures.
Here is a list of suggested questions:
• Have you checked the job offer?
• Do you know exactly where and for whom you will work?
• Do you have an employment contract signed between you and your employer in the host country?
• Do you have a work visa for the country where you are going to work?
• Do you know the address where you will live and a phone number where you can be found?
• Did you leave some copies of your ID at home?
• Do you know the telephone number of the embassy of the Republic of Moldova in the host country?
• Do you know the language of the host country?
• Do you know where you need to register as a migrant worker in the host country?
• Do you know where to call for help in case of danger?
A negative answer to one or more questions on this list could be a sign that the person is at risk of being cheated or exploited through work. Please note that calls to the Hotline for Safe Migration and Anti-Trafficking 0 800 77777 are free, anonymous and confidential. The online consultation of the anti-trafficking specialist can be accessed on the information platform migratiesigura.md.
It is to be mentioned that the information actions in order to prevent the labor exploitation of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova abroad are carried out in partnership with the General Inspectorate of the Border Police of the Republic of Moldova, the International Organization for Migration, the Mission in Moldova under the project Increasing the access of the risk groups to information on safe migration and the danger of trafficking in human beings, with the financial support of the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau.
(Border Police photos)