The Christian Science Monitor
By Stephanie Hanes
October 26, 2015
Forced labor, it turns out, is everywhere. Although the problem of human trafficking has sparked political attention over the past decade, the focus in the US – in terms of advocacy, funding, and law enforcement – has been almost entirely on sex trafficking.
Although many of these workers are, in a sense, invisible – hidden in farm barracks and individual homes – a huge number work in plain sight. They mow grass for landscaping crews, clean dishes in restaurant kitchens, paint toenails in salons and clean hotels and bathrooms – and that is just in the United States. Look globally, where the United Nation’s International Labour Organization estimates that some 21 million people are victims of forced labor, and labor trafficking shows up in supply chains for numerous products, from automobiles to electronics to pet food.
“The biggest stereotype of all is that trafficking is something that happens somewhere else, when reality it’s probably happening around the corner from your house, ” Griselda Vega, senior director of Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program (ATP) explains.