There are an estimated 57,700 people in modern slavery in the US according to GSI estimates. The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation.
Victor travelled to the US on a work visa where he thought he would be able to get a better life. However, upon arrival his employer took all his documents and subjected him to verbal and physical abuse. In this narrative Victor talks of the importance of speaking out and asking for help.
I came in with a work visa called the visa H2A. As soon as we got here, I went to my employer, and they took all of my documents. There was fear, complete fear, because every day there was yelling, abuse, even pushing. It was complete fear very—humiliating. We got in touch with the attorneys from Colorado Legal Services. They helped us with clothes, food, and the money for almost three months’ rent. We’ve also had help for physical, I mean, psychological health with doctors since we found ourselves in such a depressing situation.
And my sense of tranquillity comes from the fact that we have a work permit. And this is what makes me feel more secure.
As humans and as people, we should give each other, like, a moral value and say that we are important. We are as important as them. If you have documents or if you don’t have documents, here in the United States, we have rights and there are institutions that will support and help us. And so don’t stay quiet. Reach out; speak out about any kind of mistreatment or abuse. Try to communicate with those people, because if you can’t communicate, then nobody knows what is happening.
Courtesy of the Office for Victims of Crime