Issues in immigration arise due to instances of labor trafficking – a modern form of slavery where people are being taken advantage of because of their economic conditions. Investigating these cases are especially problematic as the victims very rarely self-report in fear of the implications when authorities find out about their illegal status or the consequences from the traffickers.
Colleen Owens and Erin Albright join Justice Clearinghouse to discuss developing a labor trafficking threat assessment. Colleen is an expert on human trafficking with over a decades’ worth of experience in research, training and technical assistance for various projects with the US Department of State, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and International Association of Chiefs of Police. Meanwhile, Erin Albright is a visiting fellow with the US Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime. She spent more than a decade working in the field collaborating with law enforcement, lawmakers and service providers on anti-trafficking initiatives and victim-centered response strategies.
The course proposes an approach that aims to understand labor trafficking across different industries by using readily available data to come up with an assessment of potential labor trafficking threats within a community. Some of the specifics tackled on the course include:
- A discussion that looks into the findings of a study conducted by the Urban Institute, Northeastern University, and the Freedom Network.
- The country of origin of the trafficked individuals and the visa they acquired.
- The industries that these people end up working for.
- The typical procedure that the trafficked individuals go through from obtaining the visas to their deployment and work conditions.
- Reasons why labor trafficking survivors do not self-report.
- Steps to developing a data-driven threat assessment approach to better understand and respond to labor trafficking.
- Narrowing down the universe
- Creating an economic profile for the jurisdiction that will provide an overview of the top industries.
- Identifying the industries vulnerable to labor trafficking from the DOL and cross-matching it with the economic profile.
- A case example for the state of Kentucky where the top 10 industries by employment and top 10 vulnerable to trafficking industries are identified.
- Working with available databases.
- The different databases that may be utilized to provide further insight into industries and companies that are potential labor trafficking threats.
- Ways on how to access these databases.
- Analyzing obtained datasets.
- Making sense of the Wage and Hour Compliance Action Data by understanding the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code.
- Using the dataset to identify top violators and other trends and patterns which can serve as the jump-off point for further drill down and investigation.
- Application of the gathered information.
- Building context through an understanding of labor trafficking law and recognizing its key elements and weak spots.
- Narrowing down the universe
Resources Mentioned During Webinar
- Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States
- “The open source sites, how to begin an assessment, just everything in general [was great.] Thank you!” — Rea
- “It was a great presentation on a very comprehensive topic and I much appreciate a well developed process of addressing the complex issue from the analytical perspective that I intend to share with our [partners.]” — Wallace
- “I valued labor exploitation and labor trafficking chart. I also valued the application part of Erin’s presentation. ” — Amanda