She had been called in to cut and style a woman’s hair in her home. She arrived and thought it strange that this one woman lived with quite a few men in a house. There was little furniture except for a bunch of bunk beds. As she worked she talked with the woman and learned that they had all been brought to stay in the house in order to work at a restaurant in town. Before attending the conference, she did not know that it is highly possible these workers were victims of trafficking. Her intention after the conference was to go back to that town and that restaurant and try and determine if the same situation existed. If it does, she has the number to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-3737-888) and she intends to use it!
More than one member of the family attended the conference. They were not unfamiliar with the issue of trafficking as a family member is active in anti-trafficking work at her university. Nevertheless one of them was taken by surprise to learn that some nail salons use people who are labor trafficked. Her face shadowed over with grief. She had been to get her nails done. Interested in the woman who was attending her, she began to ask conversational type questions. She was shocked to learn that the woman lived in a crowded house with several of the other workers. They lived over an hour away and were brought in every day by a van to work. She too plans on returning to the nail salon. Because now she knows that it is possible these women were being labor trafficked.
Yes, he wanted to come to the states. Yes, his mother was willing to pay the “coyote” to get him here. No, he did not expect to watch the coyote kill his mother in front of him when she couldn’t pay all the “coyote” was demanding.
Labor trafficking is less hidden than sex trafficking. It really isn’t a dirty little secret. It is out there for all of us to witness with our very own eyes. Polaris Project puts the ratio of sex and labor trafficking victims at 1:9. Yet we don’t see it or pay attention to it, because of certain misconceptions about labor trafficking.
- They just want a job and are happy to take whatever they can get for the work even if it isn’t a fair wage.
- It isn’t like they are threatened or forced. They don’t have to stay.
- They knew what they were getting into when they signed on for the job.
- It only happens in the sleazy restaurants, nail salons, factories etc. It doesn’t happen in places that I frequent.
- Labor trafficking simply isn’t as bad as sex trafficking so we don’t really need to address it as vigilantly.
- Labor trafficking is purely a border immigration issue. Solve border immigration problems and we will solve labor trafficking.
- Labor trafficking is a win/win. Workers get money and employers get cheaper labor.
- Labor trafficking is primarily adults, not children.
- Adult and child labor trafficking outside the US is not something we can really do anything about.
- Labor trafficking is a legal issue, not a justice issue.
Want to understand more about trafficking? Watch videos from the event “Faith and Freedom Midtown: Human Trafficking in Houston.”
On November 4th be a part of a 45 minute webinar. From your computer in the comfort of your own home, learn more about how to purchase fair trade. Fair trade is a way that all of us can address labor trafficking both here and abroad. If you would like to receive an invitation to this online event contact [email protected].