Who we are

We are a non-governmental, non-profit organization called La Strada Czech Republic, o.p.s. (public service company) (for easier communication abbreviated La Strada), and we are a specialized organization dedicated to supporting and helping exploited and trafficked people.

What we offer

Anyone can get into a situation they cannot solve or manage on their own.  As soon as you feel that something like this has happened to you, don’t hesitate to contact us. Together we will look for a solution to your situation. 

How do you find out that something is wrong with your job and/or employer? 

  • They force you to do a job you don’t want to do.
  • You work in undignified conditions.
  • They took your documents.
  • You didn’t get paid.
  • They control where you go and who you meet.
  • They have hurt you.
  • They have deceived you.
  • They have threatened you.
  • Your employer has unjustifiably dismissed you.
  • Due to one or more of the above,
    you live in the Czech Republic illegally.

If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you might have been a victim of human trafficking, or you are at risk of trafficking and exploitation. If you are a victim of exploitation and/or trafficking, we can provide you with crisis assistance, accommodation in our shelters, and professional social and legal assistance.  Just call our La Strada SOS line.

Call us even if you’re not sure whether it really concerns you.
We offer and provide the following services to trafficked and exploited persons:

  • We will advise you on what steps to take.
  • We will provide you with finances and material assistance.
  • We will provide you with accommodation.
  • We will help you get safely home to your home country.
  • We will not tell anyone about you and your case without your consent.

A social worker will draw up a plan with you, in which we state what you want, how and how quickly you want to achieve it.  For example: you need accommodation; a new job; money to start with to pay for food and other personal items; advice on how to claim salary owed by a former employer etc. You will find out how we can help you with such things, and what the next steps should be.

SOS SOS LINE

(+420) 222 71 71 71, 800 077 777 (free of charge)

Mon 10.00–16.00 (Czech, English, Russian and Romanian)
Tue 10.00–16.00 (Czech, English, Russian and Romanian)
Wed 12.00–20.00 ! attention change – May 2022 = 10:00 – 16:00(Czech, English and Russian), 12.00 – 16.00 (Tagalog)
Thu 10.00–16.00 (Czech, English, Russian and Romanian)
Fri 10.00–14.00 (Czech, English, Russian and Romanian)

e-mail: pomoc@strada.cz

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lastradacr/

Outside the operating hours of the La Strada SOS line, there is an answering machine where you can leave a message and we will get back to you.

FAQ

Some situations, their possible solutions, and frequently asked questions

You often ask us about the activities of our organization or about the issue of exploitation and human trafficking. Some such questions are often repeated – we have therefore prepared answers to questions that may be of interest to you. Remember, however, that the specifics of your situation must always be taken into account. If you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

I worked for a "client" in the Czech Republic and did not get paid for three months. Can you help me get back the amount owed?

One way to get back the amount owed is to go to court, a journey which can be quite long and arduous. Another option is to contact your employer or the intermediary with a request for an amicable settlement of the debt. It is important to know that these options are always available - even if you have not signed a contract of employment. Write down all the information about your work, and we can help you prepare some documents for the recovery of unpaid wages.

I am no longer on probation, and my employer fired me due to illness. Did he have the right to do so?

Employment can be terminated only under precisely defined conditions. In general, your employer cannot dismiss you during your illness, and you are entitled to wage compensation and sick pay. If your employer has dismissed you unjustifiably, within two months you can file a lawsuit against him for invalid termination of employment.

An employer has told me that I have to pay extra health and social insurance from my monthly salary in order to be entitled to medical care. Is this true?

These fees are paid by both the employee and the employer. In total, 34% of gross wages accounts for contributions, but only 4.5% of gross wages is deducted for health insurance and 6.5% for social insurance. You can find out the specific amount of your salary contributions at one of the on-line payroll calculators (https://portal.pohoda.cz). 

An employer has no right to deduct money from an employee's salary above the limit set by the state.

My employer ordered me to take time off. Am I entitled to salary compensation?

It depends on whether it is paid or unpaid leave. You are entitled to a salary during paid leave. During unpaid leave, the salary is not paid, and the employee must take care of his health insurance payments (unless otherwise agreed with the employer).
Unpaid leave cannot be ordered, it can only happen at the request of the employee!

My employer wants me to take up a different job / place of work than originally agreed. Does he have the right to do so?

The employer must initially agree with the employee on the performance of any work that is outside the agreed type of work. If you have been issued a work permit for a certain position and at a precisely specified place of work, you are obliged to perform only the work specified in this work permit.

My employer has ordered me to work overtime, can I refuse?

Overtime can only be ordered in exceptional cases. Ordered overtime must not exceed 8 hours each week and 150 hours in total in a calendar year. Above this limit, overtime can only be performed on the basis of an agreement with the employee.

I am a citizen of Ukraine (or another country outside the EU), and I am looking for a job. Can you help me find one?

We can advise you on how to proceed when looking for a job. We will provide you with general information on the conditions under which a foreigner may work in the Czech Republic. We will tell you what documents you need. We will also tell you what to look out for when searching for a job. However, we cannot provide you with specific work.

I work through a "client" who is threatening to cancel my visa. He also says that I cannot work anywhere else with the visa I have. Is this true?

If you work through a "client", he may, under certain conditions, revoke your work permit or deregister you from your place of temporary residence in the Czech Republic, but he cannot revoke your visa. If you have a work visa (visa 61), you also have the right to work in the Czech Republic without an intermediary ("client"). However, if you have given him power of attorney to act on your behalf with the authorities, you should notify these authorities in writing that you are cancelling this power of attorney.

I have a client/agency/intermediary that is helping me with the process of getting a work permit in the Czech Republic. I paid him/her/them large sums in my country of origin before my departure, but after I arrived in the Czech Republic, he/she/they wanted more money, which I do not have. Do they have the right to do this?

We recommend that you do not rely on intermediaries and employment agencies and deal directly with the employer, as you will avoid large, unjustified fees (for travel, contract mediation, work permit, etc.). You will pay the appropriate fees directly to the authorities (for example, the administrative fee paid to the DAMP MOI CR for submitting an application to get/extend a visa). Under Czech law, it is illegal to charge an employee a job-placement fee.

However, it also depends on what commitments you have signed. It would be better to consult a lawyer on your situation – don´t hesitate to contact our SOS line to get advice.

I arrived on a short-term work visa, which ends soon. The employer says that he will take care of my documents and that I can continue working. Should I trust him?

A short-term work permit cannot be extended and is issued only for a specific employer. Therefore, a foreigner with this type of visa cannot change employers. Find out how the employer wants to take care of your documents and consult with experts on your situation (for example, one of the non-profit organizations working with foreigners) to avoid possible problems.

I work in the Czech Republic on an employee card, and I want to change employers. Is it possible?

Yes, it is. But, if it is your first employee card, you can change employers only 6 months after the decision to issue an employee card takes effect (however, there are exceptions, such as termination of employment for health reasons, the employer's organizational reasons, non-payment of wages and some others). It is always necessary to terminate the employment in writing. If you have a card that is issued under one of the governmental programmes (e.g., the Programme for Qualified Employees), the conditions to change an employer are different!

To ensure that changing your employer goes without problems, consult with a lawyer on your situation, or one of the non-profit organizations working with foreigners, or call our SOS line.

I have residence in the Czech Republic and an employment contract for two years. The employer has threatened me that if I leave, I will have to pay him the costs of arrangement, visa, travel… Does he have the right to do so?

You have the right to terminate your employment according to the Czech Labour Code, and no one can force you to stay with your employer. Regarding the payment of costs to the employer, it depends on what commitments you have signed. You better consult with a lawyer on your situation - do not hesitate to contact our SOS line to get advice.

I came to the Czech Republic through the Programme for Qualified Employees (Ukraine/ Philippines/Serbia, etc.). Can I change employers?

If you have arrived through a similar governmental programme, it is very likely that there will be special conditions for changing/extending and further processing your residence permit. If so, it is better to contact one of the non-profit organizations working with foreigners, or call our SOS line for advice.

I am staying in the Czech Republic on the basis of visa-free travel (Ukraine/Georgia/Moldova…), and I have found a job here. The employer claims that I can start working for him, and he wants money from me to get me a work visa. Should I trust him?

You are not allowed to work during a visa-free stay - you need a work permit and the appropriate type of residence permit. An application for such a permit should be made at the embassy in your country of origin. It is not possible to apply for such a permit in the Czech Republic if you do not have a long-term residence permit in the Czech Republic.

I have EU citizenship and I work in the Czech Republic. What are my rights and obligations?

In principle, as a European citizen, you don´t need any permits to live and work in the Czech Republic. At work, you have the right to the same treatment and conditions as have Czech workers. For longer stays in the Czech Republic (over 90 days), we recommend registering your place of residence with the Aliens Police. Communication with the authorities is easier if you provide proof of your stay in the territory. If necessary, you are also entitled to claim some social benefits.

I turned to "XY" company that offers jobs in Ireland. Is this employment agency trustworthy?

La Strada is not authorized to monitor how job agencies work. This is the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. We can advise you on what information you should find out and what to look out for before you travel. We will offer you contacts to embassies and organizations that can help in the destination country.

When you deal with an employment agency, there are signs that will help you get an idea of its reliability. These are, for example: Is the agency registered? Does it offer an employment contract? What is the content of the employment contract? etc.

My daughter is going to France as an au-pair. How can she find out whether the family is okay, and what should she do if she is not happy?

General conditions for au-pair work are well established (age, length of stay, working hours, job description, possibility to attend a language course, pocket money), but their specific form may vary from country to country.
If you communicate directly with the host family, it is advisable to ask about the above-mentioned conditions and to sign a contract before your daughter’s departure.

I have a photoshoot offer abroad and I don't know whether it's safe?

In such situations it is important to check whether the company is registered, how long has it been operating, what is in the employment contract. Look for references and find out as accurately as possible what will be photographed. If you are a minor, find out whether the agency offers an adult escort and have that person checked.

It is suspicious if the agency offers work in modelling (or dancing etc.) and does not insist on you meeting the criteria that are commonly required in this area of work. In the case of modelling, these are: a certain requirement on weight and measures; in that of dance: dance training, etc.

In any case, we recommend that you get the contact details of a Czech Embassy in the destination country, or for local, non-profit organizations that can be helpful in case of emergency. You can also contact our SOS line and get advice.

The person who takes care of me wants to control my finances. I have to hand over my pension to him/her every month. Does he have the right to do so?

A situation in which someone checks your finances and takes your pension is wrong (an exception may be a court-appointed guardian in some cases). Should this happen, it could be one form of human trafficking. In such a situation, contact our SOS line and get advice.

Ten basic principles of safe work abroad

1
Find out the exact information about the location of your accommodation and the exact description of any work in the place.
2
Leave at home a copy of your employment contract and the address or contact details of the location of your accommodation in the foreign country.
3
Leave a photocopy of your passport and a current photo at home.
4
Make regular contact with a trusted person at home and maintain it.
5
Always have your passport with you in the foreign country. Do not give it to strangers.
6
If you are an EU citizen, an ID card is also valid in EU countries - take it with your passport.
7
If possible, have your salary paid to your account, not in cash.
8
Do not accept any gifts or loans from the intermediary (employer).
9
Monitor changes in the behaviour of the intermediary (employer) - e.g., a sudden change in the date of departure, postponement of formalities indefinitely, pressure to accept further changes, etc.
10
Bring the contact details of your embassy, emergency phone numbers for the foreign country, and contact details for support NGOs.

Contacts

La Strada Česká republika, o.p.s.
P. O. Box 305
111 21 Praha 1
Česká republika
IČ: 25656317

Telefon: +420 222 721 810
E-mail: lastrada@strada.cz

Basic contacts, who to contact in a crisis

  • Police of the Czech Republic – 158 (www)
  • Emergency medical services – 155 (www)
  • List of embassies and consulates in the Czech Republic (www)
  • Embassy Directory (www)
  • Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic – information for foreigners (www)

Suggestions, comments, complaints

Your suggestions, comments or complaints can be valuable feedback for us.

Instructions on how to file a complaint can be found here:

You can communicate it:

  1. in person to the social worker who is handling your case (or another person whose work you are dissatisfied with).  The social worker is obliged to record your complaint in the file and try to resolve it; social service workers are obliged to inform a key social worker. If the situation does not improve, inform the Head of Social Services in writing or at a pre-arranged meeting. The Head of Social Services will investigate your complaint within 5 days (for the Crisis Assistance service) or within 15 days (for the Shelter service).  You will be notified orally (also in writing if so desired) about the result of the investigation.  A confidential record of the complaint will be made in your file.  If you are still not satisfied, please contact in writing the Director of La Strada, who will investigate your complaint within 15 days.  You will then be notified in writing of the outcome of the complaint investigation.
  2. anonymously to designated post-boxes, which are located in the shelters with night services and on the premises of La Strada Counselling Centre, or by post to the P. O. Box address.  The post-boxes are emptied once a month by the Head of the Shelter, who deals with the complaints. Notifications on the results of the complaints are then posted on the notice board in the Counselling Centre.
  3. via a person of your choice acting as your proxy.

You can use the services of an interpreter from our organization to file an oral complaint.  You can write a written complaint in the language you use to contact your social worker. If you are dissatisfied with external or recommended services, please inform your social worker.

If you have any recommendations on how we could improve our services, you can also submit a proposal.  You can communicate it or address it to your social worker or the Head of Social Services, who will deal with your proposal.  However, they don’t have to comment on it or tell you how it was handled.

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