American employers are using slave labor more than you may think. Too often Americans think that forced labor is only a problem in the developing world, but it is happening in the US with everything from the hotel industry to agriculture.
Carbonated.TV explains that migrant workers are particularly exploited due to the nature of temporary work visas and the threat of deportation if they try to escape:
Workers from a foreign country, such as Mexico or the Philippines for example, are frequently lured by promises of green cards and guaranteed work in the United States, according to an Urban Institute and Northeastern University report. But the opportunity is only available if they pay thousands of dollars in fees.
After putting their families in debt in order to get the process going, these workers come to the U.S., but instead of a green card, they get a temporary work visa.
And instead of a position that meets the nature of work promised by the recruiter, they find themselves working in a house as a servant, at a farm, or in the back of a restaurant.
And instead of getting paid as promised, the worker finally discovers that their money is taken from their paycheck for housing and food.
Their employer then locks away their passport and documents, and the worker is prohibited from leaving. If the worker tries to run away, then the employer will make sure he or she is deported.
According to anti-trafficking organization Polaris, there have been over 30,000 cases of human trafficking and labor exploitation cases in the US since 2007. Over 73% of these involve male victims and in 18% of these cases the victim was given a temporary work visa.
The agriculture, landscaping, transportation, construction, and hospitality industries have all been identified as sectors where migrant workers have been exploited. Carbonated.TV says this shows how “this proves that modern-day slavery is behind the food we eat, the buildings in which we reside, the hotels in which we stay, and even the restaurants at which we eat.”