Labor trafficking occurs when an employer uses threats or lies to force a victim to work. This could be debt bondage, where someone is forced to work to pay off a debt. They have no control over their debt and are often working for very little money. Forced labor and involuntary child labor are other forms of trafficking.
Labor trafficking exists in many industries. Often we associate it with agriculture, but it happens in homes as well. Nannies or home cleaners are frequent victims of labor trafficking. Employers trick, guilt, or threaten victims into working for little to no money. When caught in these situations, victims often feel as though they have no escape. Sometimes, traffickers will blackmail a worker by using their past or immigration status. Victims are then trapped in unfair situations, afraid to report what's happening.
To lure in victims, labor traffickers may make false promises, such as high pay, education opportunities, or great benefits. Employers maintain control with physical and psychological abuse. They make victims believe the only choice is to continue working for them.
People of all races and backgrounds may become victims of labor trafficking. But no circumstances make labor trafficking acceptable. Even if you are undocumented, you deserve fair working conditions. If you, or someone you know, is a victim of labor trafficking, please call us at 1.800.770.1650 or text 'IOWAHELP' to 20121.