Vulnerable U.S. citizens face the same kinds of workplace intimidation, sexual harassment, and paycheck fraud from employers that foreign-born workers encounter—but those labor trafficking offenses get far less attention, according to new research by Amy Farrell, a Northeastern professor who studies human trafficking.
Farrell and her colleagues spoke with 240 workers, providing a rare look at the labor exploitation of U.S. citizens specifically as opposed to workers who are immigrants employed temporarily or working without a visa. The exploratory study, funded by the National Institute of Justice, spoke with workers in Anchorage, Alaska; San Diego, California; New York, and Boston, and is meant to give an overview of the kind of jobs held by victims of human trafficking, their life experiences, and how the victims can seek help.
Farrell discussed the study, which she worked on with Meredith Dank from John Jay College, researchers from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and Stephen Abeyta, a criminology doctoral student at Northeastern, in a wide-ranging interview with News@Northeastern. Her comments have been lightly edited for clarity.