The hard truths about child labor trafficking - FreedomUnited.org

The hard truths about child labor trafficking

  • Published on
    April 24, 2024
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Child Slavery, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking
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Child labor trafficking, a grim underbelly of society, thrives in the shadows of everyday life, often camouflaged within the bustling environments of restaurants, laundromats, and agricultural fields. Now, with the dangerous trend of child labor law rollbacks across the U.S., the issue of child labor trafficking only stands to get worse.

Despite its pervasive presence, this insidious issue has remained largely concealed from public scrutiny. Professor Amy Farrell of Northeastern University has led a study that helps us understand the layers of this hidden, yet vicious epidemic.

The results are in, and they are not good

In an interview with Northeastern Global News, Farrell elaborates on the stark realities unearthed by the study. Her findings come out of the investigation of 132 trafficked children from a myriad of sectors:

“They are all around us. They are on our roofs, they are in our gardens doing landscaping. They work cleaning dentists’ offices, for storage facilities and in restaurants, agriculture and poultry farms. They work in waterparks, hotels and in private homes providing childcare and domestic labor.”

Farrell also discusses the dual vulnerably of both American-born and migrant children, citing poverty, housing instability, and familial trafficking as major contributing factors. The study reveals harrowing instances where minors, driven by economic necessity or coercion, are forced into exploitative labor, devoid of any basic protections and human rights.

Farrell states,

“We’ve had situations where sponsors of unaccompanied minors were coercing children into work — sometimes overtly. There are some well-documented child labor trafficking cases where minors got sponsored out to nefarious actors who pretend they are going to take care of these kids and end up exploiting them.”

The traffickers view these children as mere commodities to be exploited for their callous pursuit of profit, and the child labor roll backs are only making it easier for them to do so. Additionally, escaping the clutches of exploitation is fraught with challenges. For example, many children are put in situations where they owe a financial debt to those who have loaned them money for necessities like housing.

Farrell explains that,

“The reliance on traffickers to meet basic needs is one of the mechanisms that traffickers use to keep kids laboring.” She adds, “even when young people get away from trafficking situations, they are still vulnerable to being abused or re-trafficked by others.”

What you can do about it right now

Addressing child labor trafficking calls for a multifaceted approach, one that combines legislative measures and advocacy. Only by shining a light on this hidden form of exploitation can we mobilize action to eradicate the scrouge of child labor trafficking.

That is why we are asking you to take action and sign our petition to call on legislators in the U.S. to halt the passage of bills that rollback child labor laws. By increasing awareness on this outrageous issue, we can build the necessary pressure to stop these bills so children and families can meet basic needs without children laboring as modern day slaves.

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