What Labor Trafficking Looks Like

Juliana Zhu, Esq.

Cancer InCytes Magazine

Volume 6, Issue 1, Summer 2018

Generally, some overseas who is usually poor or in need a job hears, whether through a placement agency or an individual, about a job being offered in another country, such as the U.S. They tell them, “I can find you a job that pays X dollars per hour, you’ll work 40 hours a week, there’s a lot of overtime pay, and you’ll make a lot of money. Housing, transportation and uniform are all free. How does that sound to you?” The job seeker gets excited and believes the person. They wind up paying a placement fee of about $2,500 to $3,500. The fee includes processing fee and other fee, and the airfare. Most of the time, they would take out a loan through a company referred to by the placement agency (sometimes owned by a relative of the person making the referral), or otherwise, they borrow money from their friends and family. Rarely do they have that money saved up to pay for the placement fee. Once they arrive in the U.S., the worker’s passport is taken and withheld from them for either part of or the whole time they’re there. Also, they find out through their first paycheck that they are paid less than X dollars per hour, much less than the 40 hours of work promised, no overtime, Y amount is automatically deducted from their weekly paycheck. Other times, the worker may not get paid at all. On top of that, they are threatened frequently that if they leave, they’ll be reported to the authorities and they’ll be deported. The worker has no choice but to keep working until they finally escape through the help of friends or strangers. After their escape, they generally hide because they live in fear that their traffickers have reported them to the authorities and are looking for them still. Also, they also don’t have money to go back to their countries, they fear retaliation by their traffickers, etc. Oftentimes, they don’t know about help available to them because they don’t know what happened to them is labor trafficking. So it could be many years later until someone tells them that there’s help out there for people like them and they should talk to a lawyer or organization that can help them apply for visas available to trafficking victims. These visas are not easy to get because even if they prove they have been trafficked, they have to satisfy the requirements that they have been helpful in the investigation or prosecutor of their traffickers, they are here on account of the trafficking, and that there would be extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if they were to be sent back to their home country.

Sincerely,

Juliana Zhu, Esq.

Senior Editor

Cancer InCytes Magazine

Cancer research human trafficking

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