Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Forced Labor

Newsweek recently published an article on a type of human trafficking that is largely ignored by the media--forced labor. Although media coverage of human trafficking largely focuses on forced prostitution and elements of crime, the market for forced laborers is far larger, with the UN’s International Labor Organization putting their numbers over 12.3 million worldwide. Forced labor occurs when workers are deceived about the nature of their work and/or conditions of their employment contract by predatory employment brokers. They are often confined to their workplace, given wages far below what was promised by their brokers, subjected to violence, and threatened with arrest, imprisonment, or deportation. Nations, such as Malaysia, can unwittingly propagate the trafficking of people by implementing laws that require companies to confiscate foreign workers’ passports and report runaways to the police. With only a few thousand trafficking convictions every year, the AAA is concerned about the continued growth of this market and the current actions that governments are taking to oppose it, as well as identify and compensate its victims.

Newsweek Article

UN International Labor Organization

International Organization for Migration