Labor trafficking

When employers force someone to work using threats, harm or restraint.

If you believe you are a victim of trafficking or to file a report, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at (888) 373-7888 or call the Attorney General’s Fair Labor hotline at (617) 727-3465.

What is labor trafficking?

Labor trafficking happens when someone uses threats, harm (including financial harm), to force someone to perform work.  This is also called forced services and it is a crime in Massachusetts. Massachusetts’ law is very broad. Anyone who forces another person to work in this way, or benefits as a result of the work, could face imprisonment and fines. Businesses that commit labor trafficking can be fined up to one million dollars.

Learn to Recognize the Signs of Labor Trafficking

Who is at risk?

Trafficking happens in many industries. People who work in isolated places are more at risk. Domestic workers and farm workers are especially vulnerable to labor trafficking.

Many victims of labor trafficking are immigrants. Traffickers may threaten deportation in order to force victims to work. They may also exploit language barriers and a victim's social isolation.

The following report provides information about types of human trafficking:

The Typology of Modern Slavery: Defining Sex and Labor Trafficking in the United States

The report identifies 25 types of human trafficking in the United States and describes different business models, trafficker profiles, recruitment strategies, victim profiles.

What can businesses do?

Resources for Businesses

U.S. Department of Labor
Comply Chain

An app for companies and industry groups to assist in developing robust social compliance systems including:

  • engaging stakeholders and partners,
  • assessing risks and impacts,
  • developing a code of conduct,
  • communicating and training across the supply chain,
  • monitoring compliance,
  • remediating violations,
  • independent review and
  • reporting performance

Reducing child labor and forced labor: a toolkit for responsible businesses
US DOL list of goods produced by child labor or forced labor

International Labour Organization
Preventing and responding to abusive and fraudulent labour recruitment: A call for action

Institute for Human Rights and Business
Responsible Recruitment: Remediating Worker-Paid Recruitment Fees

American Sustainable Business Council
Principles of High Road Employers: A Path to Building a Sustainable Economy

Verite
Fair Hiring Toolkit

Walk Free Foundation
Tackling Modern Slavery in Supply Chains

What can local government do?

Links to help local government put in place or enhance policies and practices that stop labor trafficking.

Human Trafficking Prevention Policy

Cities and towns can take an affirmative stance against forced labor in their regular business operations.

View the Attorney General's Office Human Trafficking Prevention Policy which sets out standards of conduct for employees.

Vendor Notice and Acknowledgement

Think about adding a contractor acknowledgement to your standard contracts that articulates your commitment to buying only lawfully produced and sourced goods and services.

Below is a standard contract term required by anyone contracting with the Office of the Attorney General:

The AGO is committed to doing its part to eradicate human trafficking and forced labor in the Commonwealth. By checking this box, the Contractor acknowledges that the Contractor understands that: (1) the AGO will insist that Contractors (including Vendors and Suppliers) with which it conducts business comply fully with all state and federal laws and regulations regarding human trafficking and forced labor, including all FAR regulations; and (2) the AGO will require assurances that all items in a supply system have been produced in accordance with the laws against human trafficking in the country in which the goods were produced.

Encourage Awareness Among Municipal Officials

View and listen to a recorded webinar offered to municipalities on July 25, 2018, by the Attorney General's Fair Labor and Human Trafficking Divisions.

Labor trafficking was designated a criminal offense as "Trafficking in Forced Services" under Massachusetts law in 2012; it is a global phenomenon, and it is happening in many of our communities.  Local officials are key to identifying these crimes and bringing survivors out of the shadows.  This webinar will provide an overview of the problem and provide ways that building and health inspectors, code enforcement officers, assessors, licensing staff, human services staff, school department personnel, police, fire, and emergency management departments can help to identify and combat labor trafficking in our Commonwealth.

Additional Resources for

Feedback