Labor Trafficking on Specific Temporary Work Visas

A Data Analysis 2018-2020

Every year, hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers come to this country legally, holding visas that allow them to work in certain kinds of jobs for prescribed periods of time. American businesses – particularly in the agricultural sector – say these workers are vital to their operations and by extension, to the U.S. economy. But the laws designed to keep these workers safe are rarely enforced and the design of the system traps them in situations of abuse, exploitation and trafficking.


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What Can I Do to Help?

Learn More About the Problem

We analyzed data from the four major temporary visa programs heard about most frequently on the Trafficking Hotline. The data revealed significant labor exploitation and abuse in each visa category.

Protect Essential Foreign Workers From Labor Trafficking 

The Administration can and must lead the way toward fixing the broken system that allows for – even encourages – labor trafficking of workers who are in this country on temporary visas. There are several steps in that direction that the White House and agencies can take immediately and others in which congressional action is necessary. The solutions are clear and the time is now.

Urge Transparency in Congress for Guest Workers

Traffickers operate in the darkness and shadows. Unfortunately, our current system of issuing and overseeing temporary work visas is such an environment. Tell Congress: Transparency can keep people safe from trafficking.  

Contact Congress and Demand Equal Rights

Domestic workers have been left out of virtually every major federal labor protection law. That fact, coupled with isolated, informal working conditions make this workforce very vulnerable to labor trafficking. It is time to give the nannies, house cleaners and home health aides who help busy families manage their lives the respect, the payment and the protection they deserve.

Give Today

15,886 victims of labor trafficking were identified through the National Human Trafficking Hotline from 2018-2020. Give now to support victims and survivors and help us continue to operate the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Need help? Polaris operates the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline.