Reducing Economic Vulnerabilty

Written By Freedom Business Alliance

Job creation for those who are at risk is vital to preventing trafficking by reducing their economic vulnerability.”

There is much research demonstrating that survivors of human trafficking often experience violence and many forms of trauma prior to as well as in the process of being trafficked, the effects of which could be persistent and damaging to a person’s long-term health and well-being. Recovery is a long journey which may last many years and possibly lead to other illnesses. This is why the work of prevention is key – if we can work to keep individuals safe from trauma, violence, and intervene before trafficking occurs, it is incumbent upon all those working toward the end of this global crisis to do so.

Freedom Business exists to create employment opportunities for survivors of human trafficking and those “at risk”. Job creation for those who are at risk is vital to preventing trafficking by reducing their economic vulnerability. But what specific factors make a person vulnerable to being trafficked? The Freedom Business Code of Excellence contains a system for identifying risk, developed during a series of roundtable discussions amongst Freedom Business leaders in 2021, facilitated by Freedom Business Alliance. We acknowledge these factors will not identify every person vulnerabIe to being trafficked, but will help prioritize intervention aimed at addressing the most vulnerable cases.

According to the Code of Excellence, an individual is “At Risk”¹ of Human Trafficking or exploitation when at least two (2) verifiable risk factors are present, and there is evidence of high proximity to human trafficking or exploitation. Risk factors include: 

  • Economically Marginalized
  • Irregular immigration status
  • Discrimination based on gender, religion, or minority ethnic status
  • Limited education
  • No or limited knowledge of the local language
  • Mental, behavioral or neurological disorders
  • Child deprived of parental care
  • Physical and/or learning disabilities
  • Housing instability
  • Debt bondage
  • Trauma or abuse history
  • National or regional conflict
  • Lack of family or social support network
  • Household factors such as domestic violence, substance abuse, family breakdown or instability, single parenthood
  • Lack of, or limited, job opportunities or choices are available
  • Drug use
  • Currently employed in a job which may be viewed as being closely associated with prostitution or other work which can easily be exploitative
  • High number of Adverse Childhood Experiences²

In addition to the above risk factors, an individual is considered to have “high proximity to Human Trafficking or exploitation” if they:

  • Live in a geographical region or community which is known to have high rates of Human Trafficking;
  • Have an intimate partner, family member or relative who is a trafficker; or have a family member, relative or close acquaintance who has been trafficked.

Each Freedom Business strives to be a workplace that is safe, trauma-informed and healing-centered³. They also try to create policies and structures where the holistic well-being of employees is considered – which may include addressing the needs of both workers and their families. Our hope at FBA is that workers are equipped with resources and skills to succeed in their jobs and to gain the confidence to attain long-term financial security for themselves and their families so that many do not ever have to experience the pain of trafficking (or re-trafficking).


¹ This definition serves only as a guide for determining whether a person is “At Risk”. It is not intended to exclude individuals who are genuinely in need of employment, training and/or other support as a result of Human Trafficking.

² Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021), Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/index.html

³ Commitment 5, Freedom Business Code of Excellence

Related Articles



Inclusion represents a profound shift in perspective—from regarding survivors as passive recipients of aid to recognizing them as genuine experts in the field of human trafficking. No one understands the devastating impact of human trafficking better than the survivors themselves.

read more


Tens of millions of people are caught in its throes, but each person has a different story of how they came to be in that situation. Freedom Businesses respond by creating programs to alleviate the causes and better prevent trafficking within their unique cultural context.

read more


Subscribe For Updates & Invitations

You'll receive the latest stories of Freedom Businesses around the world, along with invitations to participate in discussions and initiatives centered around creating business solutions to human trafficking.

Safety Exit