Understanding and Recognizing Labor Trafficking

Keeping victims isolated – sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally – is a key method of control in most labor trafficking situations. But that does not mean you never cross paths with someone who is being trafficked. A contractor might notice that a subcontractor’s team appears to be sleeping in unfinished homes, or a suburban mom might learn from a nanny at her local playground that her employer mistreats and threatens her.

Someone might be in a labor trafficking or exploitation situation if you learn they:

  • Feel pressured by their employer to stay in a job or situation they want to leave
  • Owe money to an employer or recruiter and/or not being paid what they were promised or are owed
  • Do not have control of their passport or other identity documents
  • Are living and working in isolated conditions, largely cut off from interaction with others or support systems
  • Appear to be monitored by another person when talking or interacting with others
  • Are being threatened by their boss with deportation or other harm
  • Are working in dangerous conditions, without proper safety gear, training, adequate breaks and other protections
  • Are living in dangerous, overcrowded or inhumane conditions provided by an employer

Additional Resources

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

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