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  • The author(s) shown below used Federal funds provided by the U.S. Department of Justice and prepared the following final report: Document Title: Understanding the Organization, Operation, and

    Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States

    Author(s): Colleen Owens, Meredith Dank, Ph.D., Justin

    Breaux, Isela Bañuelos, Amy Farrell, Ph.D., Rebecca Pfeffer, Ph.D., Katie Bright, Ryan Heitsmith, Jack McDevitt, Ph.D.

    Document No.: 2011-IJ-CX-0026 Date Received: October 2014 Award Number: 248461 This report has not been published by the U.S. Department of Justice. To provide better customer service, NCJRS has made this Federally- funded grant report available electronically.

    Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect

    the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • RESEARCH REPORT

    Understanding the Organization,

    Operation, and Victimization Process of

    Labor Trafficking in the United States Colleen Owens Meredith Dank, PhD Justin Breaux Isela Bañuelos URBAN INSTITUTE URBAN INSTITUTE URBAN INSTITUTE URBAN INSTITUTE

    Amy Farrell, PhD Rebecca Pfeffer, PhD Katie Bright Ryan Heitsmith NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

    Jack McDevitt, PhD NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

    October 2014

    C R I M E A N D J U S T I C E

  • 2100 M Street, NW

    Washington, DC 20037

    www.urban.org

    This project was awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice

    (supported by Award No. 2011-IJ-CX-0026). The authors thank a number of individuals for their advice, support,

    and tireless dedication during the course of this study, especially Juan Pedroza, Debbie Mayer, Leila Collins, Lilly

    Yu, Stephanie Fahy, and Brittany Rumble for their assistance with protocol development; data collection, cleaning,

    and coding; and editing. We also thank William Adams of the Urban Institute for his careful review of this report.

    We are indebted to the Urban Institute Communications team for their tireless efforts to support this study.

    Specifically, we thank Kate Villarreal, Stu Kantor, Matthew Johnson, Christina Baird, Fiona Blackshaw, Elizabeth

    Forney, Timothy Meko, and Ashleigh Rich.

    We are grateful for the support and assistance of John Picarelli and Maureen McGough of the National Institute of

    Justice.

    We also extend a very special thanks to Florrie Burke, Bill Bernstein, and the individuals who served on our

    advisory board for sharing their knowledge, expertise, and guidance.

    The narratives and data collected for this report would not have been possible without the cooperation of the

    Freedom Network service provider staff members in our study sites. We are extremely grateful for their assistance

    facilitating access to case records, helping coordinate survivor interviews, and sharing their insights, experiences,

    and recommendations. We are also indebted to the investigators, prosecutors, and regulators in each study site

    who provided information during interviews. Many interpreters provided careful and sensitive interpretation and

    translation throughout our project, including fellow Urban colleagues Erwin de Leon, Juan Pedroza, and Isela

    Bañuelos, and numerous individuals who remain anonymous.

    Lastly, we would like to express our utmost respect and gratitude to the many survivors who graciously shared

    their stories and their time with us. We know that for many, this discussion was not easy. We were inspired by their

    courage and we know that the information they provided will be used to prevent similar abuses from happening to

    others. We dedicate our report to survivors of human trafficking in the United States and around the world, and to

    the men, women, and children who have yet to see freedom.

    The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this document are those of the authors and

    do not necessarily reflect those of the US Department of Justice or of the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its

    funders.

    Copyright © 2014. Urban Institute. Permission is granted for reproduction of this file, with attribution to the Urban

    Institute. Cover image by Matthew Johnson.

    This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s)

    and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • Contents

    Abstract v

    Executive Summary vii

    Chapter 1: Introduction 1

    Statement of the Problem 1

    Literature Review 4

    Rationale for Research 15

    Chapter 2: Methodology 17

    Site Selection and Data Collection 17

    Analysis 21

    Limitations 22

    Chapter 3: Characteristics of Victims and Suspects 24

    Chapter 4: Recruitment into Labor Trafficking 44

    Chapter 5: Movement 59

    Chapter 6: Labor Trafficking Victimization and Labor Exploitation Experiences 75

    Chapter 7: Escape from Labor Trafficking 100

    Chapter 8: After the Escape: Labor Trafficking Survivors’ Needs, Service Provision, and

    Outcomes 120

    Chapter 9: Criminal Justice Process 165

    Chapter 10: Conclusion and Recommendations 198

    Discussion 198

    Recommendations 204

    Recommendations for Further Research 217

    Notes 219

    References 223

    Appendix A: Venn Diagram of Labor Exploitation, Child Labor and Labor Trafficking 226

    Appendix B: Site Selection Screening Protocol 227

    Appendix C: Client Case Coding Instrument 231

    This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s)

    and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • Appendix D: Service Provider Interview Protocol 238

    Appendix E: Recruitment Guide 243

    Appendix F: Spanish and Tagalog-Translated Consent Form and Project Descriptions 247

    Appendix G: Survivor Interview Protocol (English and Spanish) 252

    Appendix H: Survivor Consent Form 273

    Appendix I: Migrant Farmworker Focus Group Protocol 275

    Appendix J: Law Enforcement Interview Protocol 279

    Appendix K: Department of Labor Interview Protocol 285

    This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s)

    and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • A B S T R A C T V

    Abstract This study examines the organization, operation, and victimization process of labor trafficking across

    multiple industries in the United States. It examines labor trafficking victim abuse and exploitation

    along a continuum, from victims’ recruitment for work in the United States; through their migration

    experiences (if any), employment victimization experiences, and efforts to seek help; to their ultimate

    escape and receipt of services. Data for this study came from a sample of 122 closed labor trafficking

    victim service records from service providers in four US cities. In addition, interviews were conducted

    with labor trafficking survivors, local and federal law enforcement officials, legal advocates, and service

    providers in each site to better understand the labor trafficking victimization experience, the networks

    involved in labor trafficking and the escape and removal process, and the barriers to investigation and

    prosecution of labor trafficking cases.

    All the victims in this study sample were immigrants working in the United States. The vast majority

    of our sample (71 percent) entered the United States on a temporary visa. The most common temporary

    visas were H-2A visas for work in agriculture and H-2B visas for jobs in hospitality, construction, and

    restaurants. Our study also identified female domestic servitude victims who had arrived in the United

    States on diplomatic, business, or tourist visas. Individuals who entered the United States without

    authorization were most commonly trafficked in agriculture and domestic work. Labor trafficking

    victims’ cases were coded to collect information on their labor trafficking experience, as well as any

    forms of civil labor violations victims encountered. All victims in our sample experienced elements of

    force, fraud and coercion necessary to substantiate labor trafficking. Elements of force, fraud and

    coercion included document fraud; withholding documents; extortion; sexual abuse and rape;

    discrimination; psychological manipulation and coercion; torture; attempted murder; and violence and

    threats against themselves and their family members. In addition to criminal forms of abuse, we also

    found that labor trafficking victims faced high rates of civil labor exploitation. These forms of civil labor

    expl