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Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2014
307 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of a study that examined the organization, operation, and victimization process of labor trafficking across multiple industries in the United States.
It examined labor trafficking victim abuse and exploitation along a continuum that extended from victims' recruitment for work in the United States through their migration experiences (if any), employment victimization experiences, their efforts to obtain help, to their ultimate escape and receipt of services. All victims in the sample experienced elements of force, fraud, and coercion, along with psychological manipulation, and threats against themselves and their families. Although many of the laborers were legal under some visa program and labor law, employers/traffickers controlled the housing, food, and transportation of a significant proportion of the sample. Although 71 percent of the sample arrived in the United States for work on a visa, by the time victims escaped and became connected to service providers, 69 percent were in the country illegally. A lack of victim awareness of assistance resources, limited outreach, and victims' fear of being unauthorized were barriers to the identification of survivors. Policy and practice recommendations are provided to improve victim identification and responses to labor trafficking. Data for this study came from a sample of 122 closed labor-trafficking victim-service records from service providers in four U.S. cities. Interviews were conducted with labor trafficking survivors, local and Federal law enforcement officials, legal advocates, and service providers. 59 references, extensive notes, and 11 appendixes with research tools and protocols

Date Published: October 1, 2014