Forced labor and sex trafficking of migrants uncovered in New York

Forced labor and sex trafficking of migrants uncovered in New York

  • Published on
    December 19, 2023
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Child Slavery, Human Trafficking
Hero Banner

Trigger warning*

The Miami Herald reports that the U.S. Federal prosecutors brought charges of forced labor and sex trafficking against a New York man after discovering he was forcing migrants from Guatemala to work on farms and that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant after abducting her on two separate occasions.  

If they refused to work, they would “suffer serious harm” 

Agusto Francisco of Dunkirk, NY stands accused of helping migrants cross into the U.S. and then shuttling them to various farms in the Dunkirk area around Lake Erie between September 2018 and September 2020. Once on the farms, he charged them for housing and transportation to work, taking a cut out of their pay to cover their “expenses”. If workers refused to work or pushed back against the fees, they were threatened with violence. 

Prosecutors say in the charges that: 

“He threatened two individuals with deportation and said he’d hurt their families if they refused to continue working for him or didn’t pay him “money they purportedly owed.” 

Migrants working on the farms believed that if they didn’t do the labor and services Francisco was asking of them, they “would suffer serious harm.” The attorney’s office said that a grand jury had indicted Francisco on two counts of forced labor. 

Additional charges for abducting and sexually assaulting 16-year-old 

Francsico is also accused of raping one of the migrant teens on several occasions and kidnapping her “for the purpose of illegal sexual activity” according to the attorney’s office. Francisco told her if she spoke about the rape, he would hurt her siblings in Guatemala. Francisco kidnapped the teen and kept her inside a trailer for nearly two weeks being rescued by police.  

Officials said: 

“With an estimated 27.6 million victims worldwide at any given time, human traffickers prey on people of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities, exploiting them for their own profit,”  

In addition to the charges of labor trafficking and forced labor, Francisco will also face one count of kidnapping a minor and one count of transportation of a minor for the purpose of illegal sexual activity. The U.S. Department of State claims that forced labor and sex trafficking are the two “primary forms” of human trafficking in the U.S. 

Take a stand against the exploitation of children 

Freedom United understands most migrant children do not have a choice when it comes to working. Often, they come into the U.S. unaccompanied and must find ways to pay for necessities, may have debts to repay, and are often sending money to support their families in their home countries since it is harder for adult family members to enter the country. 

Right now, when exploitative child labor is on the rise, Freedom United stands beside those who feel it is irresponsible to increase working hours for youth, lower wages, eliminate work permit requirements, and lower the age to work in hazardous industries. We are calling on lawmakers to repeal legislation introduced or enacted, and instead of facilitating the exploitation of children, use their position to prevent it and protect them. Join us and add your voice to the movement to tell states to stop rolling back child labor laws! 

Subscribe

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
guest
2 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Juergen Dankwort
Juergen Dankwort
6 months ago

I wanted to donate $20 CAD but you online system declined the amount as it only allowed fixed amounts of donations of $25 so I had to choose the lesser $5 option. Can this be changed perhaps?

Freedom United
Admin
6 months ago

Hi Juergen, thank you for your generous donation, it’s very much appreciated. The boxes on the form show suggested amounts however if you click your cursor in the box next to the currency field where the amount appears, you can edit it and enter the exact amount you would like to donate.

This week

Despite global pressure, cobalt mining still tainted by forced child labor

Cobalt is a mineral mined mostly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is critical to the battery technology used in things like electric vehicles and cell phones. But dubious ethics and exploitative labor practices, particularly the use of child labor, continue to haunt the sector according to an article in Wards 100. More must be done to keep children safe. Children working like Gold Rush miners Despite efforts to find a replacement for this

| Tuesday July 16, 2024

Read more