Policy Brief – Improving U.S. Laws and Policies on Labor Trafficking

By USCRI August 10, 2022

This week’s policy brief discusses labor trafficking in the context of the United States. Although human trafficking has entered the mainstream consciousness in the United States over the past 25 years, the true magnitude of this crime remains unknown both domestically and internationally. While federal agencies primarily focus on sex trafficking in investigations, some data suggest that labor trafficking is more prevalent in the United States. Additionally, there are shortcomings to U.S policy in combating labor trafficking. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), as amended, which is the cornerstone of anti-trafficking legislation in the United States, as currently implemented, operates under two tiers of trafficking. First, there is the act of “trafficking,” which defines trafficking for the purpose of prosecution. However, the “severe forms of trafficking” distinction used for the purpose of protection establishes a more restrictive definition of trafficking, in particular for labor trafficking, than that which is operative in the U.N. Protocol. The U.S. Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report explicitly recommends that the U.S. Government increase efforts to address labor trafficking in the United States. Since human trafficking is a multifaceted, far reaching, interconnecting problem, the solutions must be far reaching as well, such as two current pieces of legislation – the FABRIC Act and the reauthorization of the TVPA. The FABRIC Act aims to ensure labor protections for workers and to hold noncompliant employers and labor contractors accountable. The reauthorization of the TVPA will fund necessary services and establish a program that helps survivors gain skills and become more employable.

Click here to read the full Policy and Advocacy Report by USCRI.


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