Tuesday, July 12, 2011

21st Century Slavery and Immigration Law

It seems like the major news outlets have again "discovered" slavery and sex trafficking.  MSNBC and CNN on special pages of their websites highlight the problem of modern day slavery in the United States and, indeed, the entire world.

Unfortunately, as we have seen in California, human trafficking and slavery have increased with  the greatly increased efforts at border enforcement. A few weeks ago, the U.S. Department of State released the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report.  This victim story from the report makes clear that forced labor is not limited to the sex industry:

"Ravi was among hundreds of workers lured to the United States from India by an oil rig construction company operating in the Gulf Coast. Lacking skilled welders and pipefitters to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina struck the area in 2005, the company brought Ravi and others from India on H-2B visas, promising them permanent visas and residency. But, the promises were false. Instead, Ravi was forced to live with 23 other men in a small room with no privacy and two toilets. The camp was lined with barbed wire and security guards, so no one on the outside knew Ravi’s whereabouts. The company charged so much for food and a bunk bed that Ravi was unable to send any money home or repay the money he borrowed for his travel expenses to the United States. When the workers began organizing to protest their working conditions, the company began arbitrary firings and private deportations of the protest leaders. Those who remained filed a class action lawsuit and applied for [Trafficking Victim Protection Act]immigration services."



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