All people in the United States are free to leave their jobs. This is true even if a worker owes the employer money and even if the worker is not legally in the United States.
Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery and a violation of basic human rights. Victims of trafficking are commonly forced to work as farmworkers, household servants, or prostitutes, or in factory sweatshops.
Human trafficking is against the law. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, a federal law, defines human trafficking as recruiting, harboring, moving, obtaining or maintaining a person by fraud, force or coercion for a commercial sex act, involuntary servitude, debt bondage, peonage, or slavery.
Common tactics used by traffickers to control their victims include:
- Physical violence;
- Confiscation of the victim’s identification papers or travel documents;
- Confining victims and not allowing them to leave the premises or isolating them without transportation or the means to leave without the trafficker’s consent;
- Threats of violence or serious harm to the victim or his family if the victim refuses to provide the labor or service;
- Claims that the victim will be arrested or deported if s/he stops working for the trafficker;
- Making the victim indebted to the traffickers or their cohorts for fees or charges for things like recruitment, smuggling, food, or transportation.
The Farmworker Unit helps victims of trafficking. If you or someone you know possibly is or has been a victim of trafficking, please contact us.