Protect Essential Foreign Workers From Labor Trafficking

Call to Action Text Field

At any given time, the United States is temporarily home to hundreds of thousands of workers who came here on legal visas specifically designed to help fill jobs that U.S. businesses say they can’t fill with workers already in this country.

Far too many of those workers wind up as victims of human trafficking. The latest report from Polaris, based on data from the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, shows that year after year workers who came to this country legally to build our homes, farm our fields, and otherwise make our economy run, instead are threatened and exploited. 

There are things the Administration can do right now to better protect these workers, including prioritizing funding for Wage and Hour inspections and enforcement so that workers get paid what they have earned.

The Administration can also give workers real power to make their own choices and keep themselves safe by leaving abusive employers. This requires several steps, all of which can be done in the regulatory process, including allowing workers to switch jobs within visa categories once they are here and giving them real tools to do so, such as an up-to-date and accessible listing of available opportunities, resources to ensure they can get from one worksite to another and protection from immigration consequences for a period of time while they are attempting to switch employers. 

While this can all be done via regulation and rulemaking, it is long past time for Congress to act and ensure a safer, fairer system going forward. It is time to give workers on temporary visas the ability to protect themselves by leaving abusive employers without fear of deportation and it is long past time to ensure that illegal recruitment fees don’t trap workers in debt.

Ask the Administration to do more and do better protecting essential foreign workers.