Labor trafficking happens when a person is forced to perform a particular job against his or her will, under precarious conditions and receiving very little wages or no wages at all. It is considered to be the most prevalent type of trafficking yet it is chronically underreported.
Serving victims of this crime is difficult due to lack of resources, and lack of understanding of the issue. Labor trafficking is a dynamic multifaceted crime that can be presented in many different ways and in different industries, making it hard to be recognized by victims themselves or by the consumer. Generally, labor trafficking victims that are able to ask for help, show signs of physical and psychological abuse; seem disoriented and unaware of their surroundings and in most of the cases, without any of their documentation (passport, visas…) because it is being held by the traffickers.
Some of the industries where cases have been reported include hospitality businesses, in agricultural sites, and in domestic servitude; and immigrants and people with disabilities seem to be at a higher risk for victimization. For example, many immigrant victims are recruited in their country of origin; they are brought into the country under false promises and then held as slaves under a large bondage as the traffickers’ claim they have to pay for the transportation and false documentation to be able to work in the United States. This is just one of the many ways people at risk can become slaves. Although underserved populations are more at risk there are other factors that could potentially put someone at risk of slavery like poverty and addition to name a few.
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For more information or to seek assistance you can contact me, Andrea Oyuela at The Women’s Community, 715-842-5663.
Bilingual Spanish-Speaking Advocate Program Coordinator