Often we think that human trafficking and forced labor is something that only happens in the developing world. We think that our businesses in the US don’t need to worry about forced labor within our own workforce. Yet as police are being trained to recognize forced labor, numerous cases have been discovered in the US and Europe.
Here’s a very recent example:
On June 10, 2010 five people were charged in a human trafficking case, for luring socially disadvantaged Slovoks to the UK and forcing them to work for far below minimum wage. The group is accused of promising high pay for picking, processing, and sorting vegetables in the U.K. However, when victims arrived in the U.K., the recruiters established bank accounts in the names of their victims, into which employers paid salaries. Only the accused had access to the money and drew it out themselves.
Victims were forced to work 8 to 16 hours a day. If they refused to work, they were threatened with the withholding of food. According to Police Presidium spokeswoman, Andrea Dobiašová, the jobs should have paid between €600 and €2,655 a month. According to reports, the victims were given as little as £5 per month with promises that they would receive more later.
If found guilty, the five could face four to ten years’ in prison.