Who are the traffickers?
Traffickers can be business owners, bosses, or other workers with a managerial role in a formal business. Traffickers can also be victims’ families or legal guardians, including parents, spouses and intimate partners.
Who are the victims?
Anyone can be victimized by a labor trafficker, but certain people are far more vulnerable than others. Economic need is a key risk factor and immigrants – including immigrants who are in this country legally – are particularly vulnerable to labor trafficking.
Why don’t victims just leave?
The most common ways traffickers control victims are through threats or economic abuse. Immigrants are vulnerable to labor trafficking because many have come to the United States due to violence or severe poverty in their home countries. That makes threats like “if you complain, I will call ICE” extremely powerful. Additionally, many labor trafficking victims are bound to traffickers by debt and the belief that even the minimal amount they are being paid is better than their other options.
How do we reduce or prevent labor trafficking?
Vigorous enforcement of basic labor protections afforded to workers in the United States would go a long way toward reducing labor trafficking, as would efforts to help workers understand their rights and the protections available to them. Increased employer accountability or “skin in the game,” is also vital to reducing labor trafficking.