Raising Awareness About the Overlooked Issue of Labor Trafficking

Updated: Feb 13

While recent media coverage of child sex trafficking arrests has raised public awareness, incidents of labor trafficking largely go unreported because they tend to fall beneath the public and media’s radar. Labor trafficking occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion to manipulate and exploit another person for labor and services. According to the US Department of Justice, labor trafficking includes cases of “involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”

Labor trafficking occurs in all career sectors (Source: Truckers Against Trafficking)

  • According to the Human Trafficking Legal Center, as of November 2019, there have been nine criminal cases and 14 civil cases brought against traffickers in the District. The civil cases involved domestic servitude and forced labor.

  • According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, of the 1,249 labor trafficking cases reported in 2018, domestic work, agriculture, traveling sales crews, restaurants and food services, and illicit activities accounted for the top venues and industries. In 2018, there were 639 cases with joint sex and labor trafficking.

  • According to The Human Trafficking Institute’s 2018 Federal Human Trafficking Report, the most common form of forced labor and trafficking was domestic work. In more than half of the cases in 2018, traffickers used threats of deportation to coerce and exploit individuals for labor and services.

For more information, visit: National Human Trafficking Resource Center: Labor Trafficking Case by Industry in the United States and US Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign: Labor Trafficking Awareness Videos

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