According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, 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.” Here are some facts on labor trafficking from the Labor Trafficking Fact Sheet, published by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Rescue and Restore program.
Forms of Labor Trafficking
Bonded labor: “debt bondage,” is probably the least known form of labor trafficking. Victims become bonded laborers when their labor is demanded as a means or repayment for a loan or service (terms and conditions were not defined). Value of work is greater than the original sum of money “borrowed.”
Forced labor: a situation in which victims are forced to work against their own will under threat of violence or some other form of punishment. Freedom is restricted and degree of ownership is exerted.
Identify the Victims
Victims of labor trafficking are very diverse. Some enter the country legally on work visas, while others enter illegally. Victims are young children, teens, women, and men. Victims are isolated to prevent them from getting help. People who are trafficked often come from unstable and economically devastated places as traffickers frequently identify vulnerable populations.
Physical abuse such as scars, headaches, hearing loss, cardiovascular/respiratory problems and limb amputation. Victims may also develop chronic back, visual, and respiratory problems from working in agriculture, construction or manufacturing in dangerous conditions. Potential psychological effects of the ordeal include post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias, panic attacks, and depression. Many victims develop “Stockholm Syndrome.”