The "red flag" signs of labor trafficking

Labor trafficking is a serious crime that occurs all around the world. It is a form of modern-day slavery in which individuals are forced to work against their will and under inhumane conditions. Labor trafficking is prevalent in many industries, including agriculture, construction, domestic work, landscaping, factories and manufacturing and victims are often vulnerable and marginalized populations, such as migrants or those living in poverty.

As with other forms of human trafficking, labor trafficking can be difficult to detect. However, there are some red flag warning signs that may indicate that an individual is being trafficked. These signs can be subtle and can vary depending on the situation, but it is important to be aware of them so that trafficking can be identified and stopped.

One major red flag for labor trafficking is that the worker is not being paid fairly, if at all. In many cases, the trafficker will withhold wages or take a large portion of the worker's earnings, leaving the victim with little to no compensation for their labor. Another sign is that the worker is in debt to the employer, either through an upfront loan or through charges for living expenses, making them unable to leave their position.

Additionally, workers who are being trafficked may be living in deplorable conditions, such as overcrowded or unsanitary housing, and lack access to basic necessities like food and medical care. They may also be subject to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse by their employer or supervisor.

Other red flags for labor trafficking include restricted movement, such as not being allowed to leave the worksite or being monitored closely, living in the same location as their workplace, and being isolated from the outside world, even from other workers in the same industry.

It is important to note that these red flag warning signs are not always clear-cut and may vary depending on the situation. However, if you suspect that someone is being trafficked, it is important to report it to the appropriate authorities. The National Human Trafficking Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-888-373-7888, and can help connect victims with resources and support.

 Here is a list of possible signs or  "red flag" indicators from the Texas Attorney General's office that might indicate that labor trafficking is occurring

  • Worker is not free to leave premises.
  • Worker lives at the business.
  • Worker is transported to the location by the owner or manager and all workers arrive and leave at the same time.
  • Worker has excessively long and/or unusual hours or is always available on demand.
  • Worker owes a large debt that is continually increasing and cannot be paid off.
  • Workplace has high security features such as opaque windows, bars, locks outside the doors.
  • Worker seems to be deferring to another person before giving information, avoids eye contact, or isn’t allowed to speak.
  • Goods or services are priced below general market rates.
  • Someone else controls the worker’s identification documents and finances.