LU-MRRL Lecture Series: Agricultural Labor Trafficking in the U.S.: A Network Exchange Analysis

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Program Description


Labor trafficking occurs when individuals are forced to work by force, fraud, or coercion. In the U.S. agricultural labor trafficking is both widespread ad underreported. Often it is carried out by farm labor subcontractors who form transnational criminal organizations (TCIs) to conduct labor trafficking on behalf of U.S. companies. This trafficking continues year after year as trafficked immigrant workers fear being further punished if they attempt to redress their workplace grievances. The H2A Visa system is designed to protect workers from trafficking abuses, but the system is ineffective and in need of reform.

Dr. Gary Kowaluk (criminal justice) and two LU researchers have spent a year and a half researching the visa system as part of a project funded ty the Department of Homeland Security in conjunction with the Criminal Investigative and Network Analysis Center at George Mason University. They will discuss the results of their research using network exchange theory and suggest reforms based on their study of federal and civil labor cases from 2017 to 2021.