It has been almost two months now since we have shown the movie Nefarious. That documentary has really opened the eyes of so many to the horrors of sex trafficking, but did you know that there are other forms of trafficking that were not addressed in the movie?
Right here in the United States there are many forms of labor trafficking and it could be happening at your favorite restaurant, the local nail salon, or at your next door neighbors. According to Polaris Project, an anti-human trafficking organization based in Washington DC, there are many different forms of labor trafficking. Here are just a few that we might encounter in our everyday life.
First there are domestic workers. A nanny or housekeeper that is being kept against her will and works 18-20 hours a day in someone’s home. They are most likely foreigners here on a work visa and were promised a wonderful job as a nanny and then threatened with deportation if they did not work all day with no pay. They are not allowed out of the house and if they do go out it is under supervision of the homeowner. They are forced to cook, clean, wash cars and take care of the children. In many cases they receive one meal a day and are allowed no breaks.
The next thing we might see is at the local nail salon. There have been many reported cases where the girls were brought here from Asia by a family member and are living in the back of the salon. Their nail license is faked and they are forced to give all their tip money to the salon owner. They work all day, every day for no pay. They also are threatened with deportation and/or jail time if they do not work.
Another situation that we would run across in our everyday life is in the restaurant industry. Wait staff, bus boys/girls and kitchen staff are put to work with no pay and long hours. Many people entering our country do not understand our labor laws and are easily manipulated into thinking that this is the only way that they can stay. Traffickers will often use the threat of harm to their families to keep them working.
One more situation that we see is what is called begging circles or sales teams. Traffickers will prey on the poor and offer them a job of travel and sales. Once hooked in, the victims are forced to sell magazines, skin care, or candy door to door and will not receive any pay. If the person does not meet a sales goal that is expected of them, they do not eat that day and/or are beaten. The trafficker will charge them over inflated prices for food and lodging as an excuse not to pay them. The trafficker will also use the threat of violence to them and their families to keep them working.
There are many other forms of labor trafficking that are here in this country like factory workers and farming. If you would like to learn more, you can check out Polaris Project at www.polarisproject.org.
The next question is what can you do? If you suspect that someone is being trafficked or forced to work against their will, you can call the human trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888. They will contact the proper authorities who will investigate the situation.
Guest blogger: Vickie Kerr