As U.S. President Donald Trump approves policies threatening to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, a new report shows that such policies would affect mostly domestic workers who are victims of human trafficking as they already suffer massive abuse due to their immigration status, a new report shows.
The National Domestic Workers Alliance and Institute for Policy Studies released Tuesday “The Human Trafficking of Domestic Workers in the United States Findings from the Beyond Survival Campaign,” which documents stories of 110 domestic workers who survived human trafficking.
The report found that among all the reported cases, 78 percent of survivors were threatened with deportation if they reported abuse which included, withholding payments, the seizure of passports and IDs, and emotional or verbal abuse by their employer including physical and sexual abuse.
Trump’s immigration policies — including raids, discriminatory bans, heightened policing of already over-policed communities, arrests outside churches, in courts, and in cars — send a clear message to traffickers and other employers preying on the most vulnerable workers,” Sameera Hafiz, report co-author and Advocacy Director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said in a press release.
“That corporate interests override human rights protections and dignity is put aside for the sake of hateful campaign promises,” the release states.
The report said that most domestic workers are women, many of whom are women of color, both African-Americans and immigrants. It found that “domestic workers experience labor conditions that are often indicators of the most extreme form of labor exploitation — human trafficking.”
More than 85 percent of all the domestic workers featured in the report said that their pay was withheld or they were paid well below the minimum wage, while more than 80 percent said they lived in “abusive living conditions.”
More than 90 of the cases “were tricked with false or otherwise deceptive contracts,” the report said adding that more than 60 percent of the trafficked domestic workers had their passports and IDs taken away by the employer.
Several survivors spoke to the researches and described how they ended up being in an impossible situation. “When I was 17 years old I was brought to the United States by an Indian diplomat and exploited to work 18-20 hour days doing domestic work,” said Shanti, a member of Adhikaar, a Nepali-speaking community social justice group in New York City, and survivor of trafficking featured in the report.
“I met so many other women like me who have been taken advantage of due to their immigration status, education, or language. Today, I have the courage to speak out and use my voice as a weapon and to support other women. I want to make sure no one has to go through what I went through.”