Labor Trafficking in the US


Exploitation in agriculture becomes trafficking when the employer uses force, fraud and/or coercion to maintain control over the worker and to cause the worker to believe that he or she has no other choice.

Traffickers often threaten foreign national workers with arrest and deportation, even workers who have the legal right to work in the United States.

Victims of trafficking may be found in any industry with a demand for cheap labor and a lack of rigorous monitoring.

Labor traffickers use violence, threats, lies, and other forms of coercion to force people to work against their will in many different industries.  Common types of labor trafficking include people forced to work in homes as domestic servants, farmworkers coerced through violence as they harvest crops, or factory workers held in inhumane conditions with little to no pay.  In the United States, these forms of forced labor are more prevalent than many people realize.  However, Polaris Project and others working in the human trafficking field are learning more on a daily basis about the different types of labor trafficking that exist amongst us.  In the United States, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines labor trafficking as: “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.” Click here to access resource packs on labor trafficking.