Bar & nightlife

Modern slavery

Bars and nightclubs may be used as hubs of sexual exploitation or prostitution of trafficking victims. Mostly women and children are lured to other countries or cities under false pretences or job promises, and are then trafficked and forced into prostitution. Trafficking victims may be forced to hand in their passports and to pay off their debts, which have allegedly aroused from visa fees and travel to place of work, to their traffickers. Repayment of alleged debts can take months to years, in which the trafficking victim is not making any money and becomes increasingly dependent on the trafficker. Being away from their homes without a social network or support adds to the vulnerability of trafficking victims.

Not only shady establishments, but also legal bars and nightclubs, are used as hubs and locations in which trafficking victims are forced to work. 

Bars and nightclubs are key places to identify victims and raise public awareness.

Trafficking and slavery: Spain
Trafficking and prostitution: Hongkong
Trafficking and slavery: Spain

Spain implemented a law against human trafficking in 2010 and further tightened it in 2015. Following the establishment of the legal framework, authorities cooperated with security forces, prosecutors, judges and NGOs to fight human trafficking. Between 2012 and 2016, 5,675 victims of human trafficking related to sexual exploitation and unpaid labour were identified. In 2016 alone, 1,046 victims were rescued. Often, women are forced into prostitution and fear coming forward against their traffickers as they threaten to harm their families. Language barriers and a lack of networks in a foreign country add to the vulnerability of trafficking victims.

Trafficking and prostitution: Hongkong

Women from various countries in South East Asia and Africa are lured into prostitution in Hong Kong by traffickers under false pretences of receiving a job in a restaurant or another sector. Traffickers often approach single mothers without a family network and who live in poverty. Women are forced to pay off alleged debts related to their visa, travels, and living expenses by prostituting themselves. Having their passports confiscated binds them even more to their traffickers in a foreign country.

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Take action

Training and capacity building

  • Train procurement and product development staff to recognise potential signs of human trafficking and react appropriately.

Communication and reporting

  • Report on how your company deals with modern slavery risks in bars and clubs visited by tourists (Modern Slavery Statements (UK)).
  • Provide information material to customers about human trafficking and prostitution.

Find more information on potential measures to take on the "take action" site. 

Learn more

Find more information in the Resource Centre.