Immigrants victims of forced labour in US: Study

Updated on Sep 26, 2004 05:38 PM IST

Modern slavery not only exists but thrives in the US. According to a new study, forced labour is prevalent in at least 90 cities across the country.

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PTI | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Los Angeles

Modern slavery not only exists but thrives in the US, especially in states where immigrants abound, according to a new study.

The study, named "Hidden Slaves: Forced Labour in the US", found that forced labour was prevalent in at least 90 cities across the country, reports Xinhua.

The report said that forced labour cases were concentrated in states with large immigrant communities, including California, Florida, New York and Texas.

At any given time, 10,000 or more people were forced to toil in sweat shops and farms, to clean homes and to work as prostitutes or strippers, said the report released by the University of California in Berkeley.

Researchers from Berkeley's Human Rights Centre and the Washington-based anti-slavery group Free the Slaves conducted the study, which covered the period from 1998 to 2003.

Most victims of forced labour were trafficked into the US from at least 38 different countries, with China, Mexico and Vietnam topping the list. Some were born in the US and held captive.

A lack of official monitoring helps unscrupulous employers and criminal networks to gain complete control over workers, according to the report.

The study found that perpetrators used a range of crimes, including fraud, coercion and physical and psychological violence, to hold their victims captive.

Although new federal laws have been passed to combat these crimes, the researchers said much more needs to be done.

Police officers were most likely to encounter forced labour but often mistook it for illegal immigration cases, the report said.

The researchers have recommend launching a broad-based public awareness campaign, improving monitoring of industries vulnerable to forced labour, increasing training and coordination among law enforcement officials and strengthening protection for survivors of forced labour.

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