"This human rights abuse is universal, and no one should claim immunity from its reach or from the responsibility to confront it."
July 31, 2010 8:54 PM   Subscribe

This year, for the first time ever, the U.S. included itself in the State Department's annual report on human trafficking. Most Americans associate human trafficking with sexually exploited women and children, but the definition includes guest laborers who have been trapped into indentured servitude as well. "More investigations and prosecutions have taken place for sex trafficking offenses than for labor trafficking offenses, but law enforcement identified a comparatively higher number of labor trafficking victims as such cases often involve more victims.” The full report--with victim stories, "TIP Heroes," methodology, definitions, etc.--is here.
posted by availablelight (10 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
[Previously]
posted by CitoyenK at 9:43 PM on July 31, 2010


From the title I thought this was going to be about Henry Kissinger. But a sex slavery prosecution is fine too.
posted by clarknova at 10:29 PM on July 31, 2010


Parents "unwittingly sell their children to traffickers?" I would think that if you're going to sell your child in the first place, the odds are not good that you're picky about what the kid is going to end up doing. You're telling me that either A) that parents weren't aware that they were selling the child "Hey! Junior just disappeared, and there's a bunch of money sitting here!" or B) the parents honestly thought they were SELLING a child into a life of..what? Being the Princess of Namibia? "Honey! Look! Our daughter is on TV being crowned!" Please.
posted by deep thought sunstar at 12:22 AM on August 1, 2010


Back in the '80s, my sister worked at a bakery where the owner had brought in German bakers, then took their passports and worked them 60+ hours a week for under minimum wage, and told them that if they complained they'd be deported. That fits the definition of trafficking, so far as I can tell.

She didn't stay with the job long, and she was uncertain what to do about what she could see was an unethical situation.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:34 AM on August 1, 2010


There should be no US "guest"-worker program for foreigners without proof of guaranteed income, proof of escrowed return funds, periodic reports from workers and employers, and regular contact with -federal- AND -state inspectors. ALL promises made to these people should be on paper and filed, scrutinized for legality, ALL "fees" made completely transparent.

And if the BASTARD slaver farmers can't make it without these safeguards, they need to find a new business. Slaves were freed in the US 150 years ago. I'm proud and glad to hear that WA led the nation with legislation.
posted by Twang at 2:58 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would think that if you're going to sell your child in the first place, the odds are not good that you're picky about what the kid is going to end up doing.

No. People are unwittingly tricked into it. You have to understand that there is a level of poverty where someone considers giving a stranger who is selling dreams of that kid being trained in a company now and growing up to be at the top to rescue the family out of poverty because that is the only method of survivals for both the cild and the adult.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:31 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


No. People are unwittingly tricked into it.

It also includes parents who "sell" their children to pay off debts: they don't really have a choice, the commercial language of debt and exchange is just a cover for feudalistic oppression.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:03 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Back in the '80s, my sister worked at a bakery where the owner had brought in German bakers, then took their passports and worked them 60+ hours a week for under minimum wage, and told them that if they complained they'd be deported. That fits the definition of trafficking, so far as I can tell.

It's a peculiar story though. Average wages in Germany are among the highest in Europe. In 2004, a bus driver had a monthly take-home wagepacket of around $2000 for less than 40 hour week. These stories might make sense when you're talking about people from places where wages are really low, but they don't make any sense when it comes to Germans.

Perhaps they were East Germans, pre-unification?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:35 AM on August 1, 2010


Thank you for posting this.

Aclevername had previously linked the "Eastern Europe-United States" stories on this page.

While many people seem to have problems with understanding the plight of the trafficked in logical terms ("Who would hand over their passport? Who would be so stupid? Everyone knows what being a hostess really means!") the narratives presented there show that it has little to do with some armchair outside objective logic and lots to do with an unthinkably brutal, inhumane industry. Sex trafficking is nigh incomprehensible precisely because it reduces humanity to nothingness, treats women (and men, and children) as less-than objects, unpeople fit to be expatriated, raped, and destroyed for profit.

In other words, you shouldn't be surprised that the way sex trafficking works seems illogical at first glance. Though it is highly effective and totally systematic, there is nothing logical or understandable about taking other people, stripping them of their citizenship, humanity, and dignity, and making them fuck for money.
posted by fake at 9:01 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


they don't make any sense when it comes to Germans.

I think they were tricked into coming to romantic Hawaii to work, then the bakery owner took their papers and told them they'd be in lots of trouble if they got caught.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 8:40 PM on August 1, 2010


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