What is Human Labor Trafficking?
By definition, human labor trafficking is “the act of recruiting, harboring, moving or obtaining a person by force, fraud or coercion, for the purposes of involuntary servitude, debt bondage or sexual exploitation.” FLAP clients often receive legitimate visas from recruiters who subsequently take these visas away. These recruiters frequently restrict the workers’ movements, house them in cramped quarters, force them to work without pay, and threaten their life and the lives of their families to prevent their escape.
Force could be:
- Physically hurting you
- Threatening to hurt you
- Visibly carrying a weapon
Fraud could be:
- Lying about working conditions
- Making false promises
- Fraudulent contracts
Coercion could be:
- Being verbally abusive
- Threatening to call ICE
- Restricting who you talk to
- Making you believe that if you leave, someone you care about will get hurt
- I am not supposed to leave the house without asking permission
- I am not allowed to leave the house unless I am going to work
- the crew leader won’t let me go into town on my own
- I can’t go anywhere because I don’t have a car and the employer won’t drive me
- I am not supposed to talk to the other workers
- I am only allowed to talk to certain people
- I have to ask permission to call my family
- I am not allowed to use the phone on the property
- I am not supposed to talk to anyone when we go to the store
- I am not allowed to have visitors
- The crew leader says I owe him money but won’t tell me how much
- The crew leader takes part of my pay check every week and says it is to pay off my debt
- I owe money to the crew leader but he hasn’t paid me in a month
- I see the boss hit people sometimes
- He tells me he will find me if I leave
- The boss carries a gun when he watches us work
- The crew leader punishes people who don’t do what he says
- He grabbed me by the shirt and pushed me because he thought I wasn’t working fast enough
- My employer took my papers and won’t give them back
- The crew leader threatened to call ICE if I leave
- They will call the police if I complain
Controlled Access to Food
- I am not allowed to stop working to eat lunch
- I am not allowed to go to a grocery store
- My employer provides our food
- I have no way of making food
- The boss won’t give me food if he’s mad at me
Denied Medical Care
- I need to go to a doctor but the crew leader won’t let me go
- I went to the doctor and am not supposed to be working but the crew leader told me I had to
- They don’t let me leave the fields when they spray pesticides
- The boss told me to lie about what happened when I went to see the doctor
Fear of Harm to Others
- I am afraid of what they will do to my family if I say anything
- They know where my family lives
- If I leave, what will happen to the other workers?
What Should I Do?
- Pay attention during conversations.
- Recognize red flags.
- Call one of the safe numbers below:
Call a Safe Number!
1 (888) 373-7888 – National Human Trafficking Hotline
Text “info” or “help” to BeFree (text goes to the National Human Trafficking Hotline)
Farmworker & Landscaper Advocacy Project: (815) 909-0362 – (630) 877-8381
All calls are confidential.
You will not be required to:
- Give your name
- Give your location
- Give the name of the person you are worried about