When-You-Need-Cheap-Labor-Can-You-Contact-the-Human-Trafficking-Labor-Pool.jpg (4297×2317)If you have a slave working for you, you can really lower your labor costs. According to theVerite-Humanity United Fair Labor Worldwide Report (Pdf),”

“an underground system of labor brokerage consists of substantial well-organized companies in the labor supply chain. This system for the recruitment and hiring into the labor ‘supply chain’ increases the vulnerability of migrant workers, adding them into various forms of forced labor once on-the-job.”

The migrant workers are often deceived by the brokers into undertaking a debt in order to pay recruitment fees and deceived about the kind of work they will be doing. The debt-bondage kind of slavery, according to slavery international,

“is probably the least known form of slavery today, and yet is the most widely used method of enslaving people.”

In some markets, there is a government imposed limit on recruitment fees, but these limits are rarely enforced. Workers find themselves in a foreign country with formidable recruitment debt and possibly ancestral family property hanging in the balance. The work visa he or she holds ties him or her to one employer and a job that doesn’t remotely resemble the salary and conditions that were promised by the labor broker. This is the “hiring trap.”

Near and Far Eastern Slavery.

Adolescent girls (14 to 17 years old) are trafficked into indentured servitude in the apparel manufacturing industry in India. They commonly work 12 to 15 hours a day, exposed to hazardous chemicals and other hazards, kept isolated from the outside world. They are contracted to work far from home for three years to receive a lump-sum payment of $750. They are recruited by brokers who fill orders for labor vacancies.

In Indonesia and the Philippines, brokers recruit workers for the IT factories in Taiwan and Malaysia.  A system of brokers sub-contracting workers puts workers at particular risk. Workers who cannot afford the recruitment fees are required to take out loans under onerous terms.

Brokers often offer free labor to employers, requiring high fees from the workers themselves. Brokers operate in a difficult business environment, asked by employers to provide a pool of three-times more workers than needed within short time periods.

Guatemalan, Mexican, and Thai Migrants for the U.S. Agricultural and Domestic Sector.

Brokers extract large fees from migrant workers even before they enter the United States. Fees charged by brokers range from a few hundred dollars to $25,000 among undocumented workers and workers under the H2A and H2B guest worker visa programs. Money lenders attached to the brokers charge up to 20 percent monthly interest on unpaid fee balances. The report found that once in the United States workers are threatened with deportation and confiscation of family land as well as violence against themselves and family members. Some studies find that the more fortunate workers may receive 60 percent of a legal minimum wage.

There were 1,067 labor trafficking cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2016. Of that number, 18 percent were working as domestics, 12 percent were in the agricultural sector, 9 percent were described as being in “traveling sales crews,” 7 percent were in the restaurant or food services industries, and 4 percent were in the health and beauty services industry.

Human trafficking for labor tends to occur in the agricultural hub areas of California, Texas, and Georgia. The US justice department estimates that between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into these areas every year. The Global Slavery Index (2018) estimates (using 2016 figures)  that on any given day there are over 400,000 people living in the United States under conditions of labor slavery.

The value of the forced labor slavery trade is hard to calculate. Does that figure mean, how much money do the operatives of the business make, or does it mean how much do employers save or how much labor do the slaves generate in terms of wages they do not receive? However, pushed for a figure, the number is estimated at $150 billion “today,” up by a factor of 3.2 since 2005. Time Magazine calls it a “growth business.”

Aiman-Smith & Marcy is a high-performance, boutique law firm committed to eradicating unethical business practices that large corporations too often inflict on employees, consumers, and businesses. Our practice is dedicated to upholding your rights. Please contact us to learn more.

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