Combating human trafficking requires a comprehensive, multidisciplinary effort. Within government, this means the participation and coordination among agencies with a range of responsibilities, including criminal enforcement, labor enforcement, victim outreach and services, public awareness, and education. As an MBAT member, we ask that you take advantage of the educational materials available to help you better understand the crime of human trafficking and how to recognize it in the workplace.
Know the Facts:
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Be Educated on Human Trafficking
Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. According to the U.S. Department of State, at any given time, an estimated 49.6 million people worldwide fall victim to human trafficking. In the United States, traffickers compel victims to engage in commercial sex and to work in both legal and illicit industries and sectors including, but not limited to:
- Janitorial services
- Care for persons with disabilities
- Salon services
- Massage parlors
- Retail services
- Religious institutions
- Child care
- Domestic work
Be Educated on Labor Trafficking
According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, 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, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Labor trafficking requires action, means, and a purpose. The "action" is the thing the trafficker does to a trafficking victim using the "means" or the method the trafficker uses to compel a person into the "purpose" or the type of exploitation. Labor trafficking is sometimes referred to as debt bondage, forced labor, or domestic servitude. Labor traffickers use force, fraud, and coercion to engage their victims in labor acts without their consent. Labor trafficking can occur in any industry and is an underreported crime. Industries more frequently subject to labor trafficking include:
- Domestic Work
- Factories and Manufacturing
- Health and beauty services
- And more!
Victims of labor trafficking work excessive hours with little to no pay. They have very limited freedoms, and are usually experiencing physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. The victims often believe they are working off debts and are afraid of what would happen to them if they tried to leave their current situation,
Labor traffickers threaten their victims with severe consequences and/or deportation. Victims normally have language barriers, lack financial resources, and sometimes do not even understand U.S. labor laws. Most labor trafficking goes unpunished due to the lack of knowledge Americans have in regard to it.
Survivors of labor trafficking need the reassurance of safety, empowerment, and trust. Acts of what appear to be labor trafficking, even if not certain, should be reported immediately. Every local community can help to provide access to resources for these victims. These needs include, but are not limited to:
- A new community to grow and be supported in
- Access to family
- Food, clothing, and toiletries
- Legal support
- Medical care
- Psychological care