Summer is a lovely season filled with the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms, the thrill of carnival rides at the many festivals taking place, and the excitement of a road trip that includes staying in hotels and trying out new restaurants. However, these innocent activities can be a façade for labor trafficking.
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.” Simply put, labor trafficking is when a person is exploited for their labor by the means of force, fraud, or coercion, and does not have the freedom to leave.
Labor trafficking can look a variety of ways and has been reported in a range of venues including agriculture, construction, hospitality/service industry, factories, traveling carnivals, domestic work, landscaping/forestry, peddling/begging rings, cleaning services, restaurant/food services, strip clubs, and traveling sales crews. Learn more about where it occurs from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.
Whenever you are exposed to these industries consider some of the potential indicators of labor trafficking, which are that a person is not free to come and go as he or she wishes, works excessive hours without breaks, has untreated work related injuries, has few or no personal possessions, unpaid or paid very little, or there are excessive security measures, such as bars on windows of the workplace. Keep in mind that these are potential indicators and not necessarily confirmation of labor trafficking. Learn more about recognizing the signs from the Ohio Human Trafficking Taskforce.
If you come across a suspicious situation you can call your local police department, or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-3737-888. You can also text BeFree (233733) for specialized victim services referrals or to report the situation, or fill out a confidential online report form with Polaris Project. View the online report here. To provide a helpful report describe the details of the situation that led you to believe labor trafficking was happening, how you know it is by force, fraud or coercion, and any names, addresses, phone numbers, license plates, demographics and physical descriptions of the controller or victim.
Remember that human trafficking happens everywhere even in the midst of your enjoyable summer activities.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center
Ohio Human Trafficking Taskforce