News / Economy

Governments, NGOs, Work to End Labor Trafficking

Governments, NGOs, Work to End Labor Traffickingi
X
December 05, 2013 1:41 AM
The International Labor Organization says more than 20 million people worldwide are subject to forced labor, working on farms, in factories, or as domestic helpers. Mike O'Sullivan reports that those who are fighting human trafficking say it's a problem in both the developing world and industrial countries, including the United States.
Mike O'Sullivan
The International Labor Organization says more than 20 million people are subject to forced labor, working on farms, in factories, or as domestic helpers.  Those who are fighting human trafficking say it is a problem in both the developing world and industrial countries, including the United States.

Stories of modern-day bondage are in the headlines.  Sixty women and girls held captive in New Delhi brothels were rescued by Indian police last year.  And authorities say millions of Indian children are forced to work.

In June, police freed hundreds of workers held captive at a tomato farm in Mexico.  The workers say they were not paid the promised wages.

Last month in Los Angeles, authorities announced a settlement with Del Monte Fresh Produce, and the ongoing prosecution of a labor supplier and another grower.  Other growers remain in settlement talks.

Thiem Chayadit was one of 150 workers from Thailand employed on farms in Hawaii who will share in the $1.2 million Del Monte settlement, outlined by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

It is good news for Chaiyajit, who borrowed more than $20,000 to pay traffickers to come to America.  He says he was not paid for his work in Hawaii.

He says he was very frustrated because he did not know where to find the money to pay off the debt in Thailand.

Commission regional attorney Anna Park says the legal action is part of a wider effort by the U.S. government to end forced labor, in this case using laws against discrimination because of national origin.

“Often times you hear stories about people escaping from their employment.  You do not really hear those terms in normal employment discrimination cases," said Park.

At All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, trafficking survivor Ima Matul describes her ordeal as a domestic servant after she was recruited in Indonesia.

“Who does not want to come to the United States?  They promised me $150 a month and a day off, and I do not have to pay any fee for my flight, visa, passport," said Matul.

But for three years, she was forced to work seven days a week, abused and not paid.  Ima spoke little English when she arrived in the United States, but finally learned enough to write a note to a neighbor, who helped her escape.

“I still remember exactly how it was and how it was when I was escaping," she said.

She now works for the non-profit Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, which helped her create a new life and helps others trapped in labor bondage.

Church member Aubin Wilson says she invited Ima to speak to the congregation's women to publicize a hidden problem.

“And to create awareness and to raise monies and pass legislation that stops this trafficking in its tracks," said Wilson.

Catherine Chen works in Washington, DC for Humanity United, a non-profit group that has partnered with the U.S. government to find new ways to do that, and help the victims.

“One of the most urgent things that survivors need is access to safe housing, access to basic legal assistance, mental health care, medical care.  Some of even the basic things like toothbrushes and soap, are things that survivors often do not have when they get out of their situations," said Chen.

She says human trafficking works through a global supply chain and that law enforcement, government and social agencies need to work together to address the problem.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9238
JPY
USD
119.51
GBP
USD
0.6614
CAD
USD
1.2119
INR
USD
63.562

Rates may not be current.