April 7, 2017

Friday News Roundup: Human Trafficking and Gender

Every Friday, Polaris highlights noteworthy human trafficking stories in the media for our readers to check out, share, and respond to. Tell us your thoughts on these stories in the discussion below!
Reuters 4/7/17
The analysis found a "surprising" number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people had been exploited in sexual acts through webcams and other technology, said Polaris's Chief Executive Bradley Myles. "There is a wider lack of understanding how there is an LGBTQ element to the sex trade, whether in person or through remote interactive web cams, or other remote interactive sex acts.” Polaris found out of 78 cases reported in the "remote interactive sexual acts" category in its report, a "surprising" 12 percent involved the LGBTQ community, mostly as victims.
Construction Drive 4/3/17
Polaris reported that construction labor exploitation and trafficking occurs most often in small businesses — both residential and commercial — and victims are sometimes misclassified as independent contractors so that employers can avoid paying benefits. Trafficked and exploited workers typically are men from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, but U.S. workers have also been subjected to modern slavery conditions by fake religious groups, rogue substance abuse recovery programs and other sham organizations taking advantage of the victim's vulnerabilities, including homelessness, according to the report.
Yahoo! Beauty 3/30/17
“The beauty industry is interesting,” Myles said, “because both the sex trade and labor trade can be present — pimps can bring women in to get their hair and makeup done,” as depicted in the recent season of ABC’s American Crime series, “while on the labor side, it can also be the person doing the hair who has been trafficked against their will.” These types of trafficking situations have been reported to Polaris by hair braiders in New Jersey, for example, and examined by the New York Times in a major 2015 exposé about Korean nail salons in New York City. Of the 295 reports of human trafficking cases and 116 labor exploitation cases related to beauty, 91 percent involved women and 79 percent involved foreign nationals.
NPR 3/29/17
From dairy farms to orange orchards, nearly 2,000 of the cases involved the agriculture industry. Workers — mostly men from Mexico and Central America — often were enticed with assurances of an hourly rate, but once they showed up in the U.S., they were paid on a much lower piece-rate basis. Many reported being denied medical care and protective gear to do their job, forced to live in squalid conditions, and threatened with deportation. Some victims were forced to provide both sex and labor. Women from Latin America — including many minors — come to America beguiled by promises of good wages, safe migration or even a romantic relationship. They're put to work selling drinks, and sex, at bars and cantinas, says Jennifer Penrose, data analysis director for Polaris and co-author of the report.


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Blog Posts by Kendall Meyer