What is Labor Trafficking?
Labor trafficking includes situations of debt bondage, forced labor, and involuntary child labor.
Labor traffickers use violence, threats, lies, and other forms of coercion to force people to work against their will in many industries.
- National Human Trafficking Hotline: www.humantraffickinghotline.org
Labor trafficking is a form of servitude in which individuals perform labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.
The Purposes of
Any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that, if the person did not enter into or continue in such condition, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint; or the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.
Under federal law, labor trafficking is the recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion, for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, debt bondage, peonage or slavery.
Includes a pledge of services by the debtor or someone under the debtor’s control to pay down known or unknown charges (e.g., fees for transportation, boarding, food, interest, and fines for missing quotas, etc.) The length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined, where an individual is trapped in a cycle of debt that he or she can never pay down.
Peonage and Slavery
Peonage is a status or condition of involuntary servitude based on real or alleged indebtedness
Slavery is a state of being under the ownership or control of someone where a person is forced to work for another.
Human trafficking victims make an alarmingly high number of consumer goods and food products, imported to the United States and produced domestically.
More often than we realize, elements of forced labor may be present within the supply chain of products we buy or the services we pay for.
Fueled by Consumers
Consumers provide the demand and profit incentive for traffickers. These consumers can include companies that subcontract certain types of services, end-consumers who buy cheap goods produced by trafficking victims, or individuals who use the services of trafficking victims.
The Signs of
Keeping victims isolated – sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally – is a key method of control in most labor trafficking situations.
- Polaris Project: www.polarisproject.com
Isolation does not mean your paths with a Human Trafficking Victim will not cross.
For example, a contractor might notice that a subcontractor’s team appears to be sleeping in unfinished homes, or a suburban mom might learn from a nanny at her local playground that her employer mistreats and threatens her.
Signs Someone might be in a Labor Trafficking or Exploitation situation:
Feel pressured by their employer to stay in a job or situation they want to leave
Owe money to an employer or recruiter and/or not being paid what they were promised or are owed
Do not have control of their passport or other identity documents
Are living and working in isolated conditions, largely cut off from interaction with others or support systems
Appear to be monitored by another person when talking or interacting with others
Are being threatened by their boss with deportation or other harm
Are working in dangerous conditions, without proper safety gear, training, adequate breaks, and other protections
Are living in dangerous, overcrowded or inhumane conditions provided by an employer