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What is Labor Trafficking?

You may have heard of human trafficking, in which people use force or coercion to make victims perform labor or sex acts. Labor trafficking is quite similar. This term refers to modern-day slavery. It is when a person forces another to perform labor and other services for little to no pay.

This is illegal. There are state and federal laws in place that govern how much a person is to be paid per hour of work. When a person is paid below that amount—or not at all—the victim can file a wage and hour dispute and recover compensation for the hours worked that were not paid.

Labor trafficking is more common than you may think. Nearly 25 million people in the United States are victims of forced labor. Labor trafficking can take on many forms. It can involve threats, lies, and violence. It can include forced labr, child labor, and debt bondage. Those who are trafficked often work in factories, on farms, and in homes as domestic servants.

Labor traffickers use false promises to lure people into labor trafficking. They may promise high pay or travel opportunities in hopes of luring people into horrible working conditions. These victims often end up working long hours for little to no pay. Anyone can be a victim of labor trafficking. However, immigrants and those in poverty are more vulnerable to the dangers.

Signs of Labor Trafficking

 A person who is forced into labor trafficking may feel trapped, and unable to leave their employer. The signs of labor trafficking include the following:

  • Physical harm or threats of harm
  • Confinement or restricted movement
  • Withholding of wages or documents
  • Working to pay off a loan
  • Poor health and safety standards
  • Making the victim pay for food or tools
  • Low pay or no pay at all
  • High dependence on employer
  • Long working hours with few or no breaks

Breaking Free From Labor Trafficking

If you or someone you know is a victim of labor trafficking, here are some things to do:

  • Call 911. Emergency crews can get you out of danger if you have been threatened by violence.
  • Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline. You can call this 24-hour hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to BeFree (233733). You can speak to someone about the options and resources available to help you.
  • Develop a safety plan. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 to find out ways to stay safe. They can help you create a personalized safety plan so that you can leave your situation.

Contact a New York Hour and Wage Attorney

All workers have a right to get paid for work performed. Forced servitude is a form of labor trafficking that is illegal.

There are hotlines and other services in your community that can help you get out of this terrible situation. The employment law attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can take action against the perpetrator and help you obtain compensation for damages. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at (347) 464-8694 today.

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