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The Future of Work: A Living Wage and Freedom for Today's Slaves

Statues at the Slavery Monument in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Statues at the Slavery Monument in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Photo: BarryTuck/Shutterstock
Sep 29 2015
The latest entry in a special project in which business and labor leaders, social scientists, technology visionaries, activists, and journalists weigh in on the most consequential changes in the workplace.
 
Katherine R. Jolluck |  Aug 31, 2015

 

The movement to increase the minimum wage—Los Angeles recently raised it to $15—will improve the lives of millions of Americans. But we have barely begun to address an alarming reality: a large population in the United States and across the globe for which a minimum wage is only a distant dream. Victims of human trafficking receive negligible or no compensation for their labor, which they are forced to perform through violence and other forms of control. This is a challenge we must take up with similar alacrity and resolve.

The term “human trafficking,” now set in U.S. and international law through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons (both from 2000), masks the ugly reality of the phenomenon. It makes it too easy to equate this crime with the selling of illicit weapons or narcotics—an exchange of money for goods, outside the control of government regulators, presumably across borders. While these features do typically characterize human trafficking—people are treated as commodities and illegally traded, both across and within national borders—the essence of what we call human trafficking is much uglier and more dangerous. ...

To view the complete article visit the Pacific Standard website.