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Migrant Farm Labor Trafficking in North Carolina: Pinning Down Elusive Data

NCJ Number
255635
Date Published
Author(s)
National Institute of Justice
Agencies
NIJ
Annotation
This article presents a recent National Institute of Justice-funded study of migrant farmworkers in North Carolina using a novel combination of analytical techniques to better understand the presence of labor trafficking in the state’s agricultural sector.
Abstract
A recent National Institute of Justice-funded study of migrant farmworkers in North Carolina used a novel combination of analytical techniques to examine the curtain on the presence of labor trafficking in that state’s agricultural sector. To the researchers, the results were surprising. Among the key findings were: 1) Overall, just over one quarter of interviewed migrant workers experienced some form of employment abuse; nearly 18 percent reported incidents that could constitute labor trafficking; and 22 percent reported lessor forms of labor abuse and exploitation; 2) Only 17 percent of more than 400 interviewed farmworkers reported they were undocumented — an unanticipated result; 3) For those without work visas or other legal documentation, however, undocumented status was a strong indicator of exposure to some forms of abusive treatment of those workers; and 4) Farmworkers forbidden to have visitors in their dwellings were more likely to experience some form of victimization. The researchers qualified those findings, however, by noting study method limitations as well as the possible hesitancy of migrant workers to report candidly their documentation status to research staff.
Date Created: November 19, 2020