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Estimating Labor Trafficking among Unauthorized Migrant Workers in San Diego

NCJ Number
Date Published
Sheldon X. Zhang, Michael W. Spiller, Brian K. Finch, Yang Qin
Publication Type
The research detailed in this article focused on the methodological challenges faced when examining labor trafficking, which make it difficult to provide reliable estimates of the problem.
In this research, the authors applied respondent-driven sampling and their unique access to migrant communities in San Diego County, California, to estimate the extent of trafficking violations in one of America’s largest Spanish-speaking immigrant destinations. it was found that 30 percent of undocumented migrant laborers were victims of labor trafficking, 55 percent were victims of other labor abuses, and about half of these victimization experiences occurred within the past 12 months. The rate of trafficking violations varied markedly across business sectors that typically hire unauthorized migrant workers. Construction and janitorial services had the most reported trafficking violations and labor abuses. Findings in this study also suggest that the illegal status in the country is likely the most significant factor contributing to vulnerability to trafficking violations. (Publisher abstract)
Date Created: June 29, 2015