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WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

Return to Prior U and T Visa Certification Program

On behalf of our client New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice, we submit the following response:

As the DOL itself recognizes, the agency "has an important role to play in combating trafficking in persons through our civil enforcement of federal labor laws." Yet on July 1, 2019, Administrator Stanton unlawfully changed a successful program in a manner that unnecessarily deters immigrant workers who are victims... more »

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Utilize DOL's Labor Expertise & Enhance DOL's C-TIP Engagement

One of the biggest problems in policing labor trafficking is the jurisdictional gap between criminal and civil agencies. Because neither is fully authorized to do the job, neither is proactively investigating or effectively busting this crime. Put another way, federal and local law enforcement do not typically investigate civil labor violations, because such violations are supposed to be investigated by the Department... more »

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Have all new Immigrants join a union

Immigrants join a union, If we had them join a union they would have health insurance and they would be enrolled in a apprenticeship program that is registered and fully funded and be able to sustain themselves without any help from the government and they would be assimilated into the workforce fully trained and ready to go

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Partnerships, Training, and Referrals

In my current position, as task force operations supervisor, we have been successful in getting in on the ground floor of potential juvenile sex trafficking cases by partnering with our local Department of Children and Families (DCF) Agency and getting immediate referrals after an investigator determines or believes that HT indicators are present. DCF utilizes a Human Trafficking Tool to determine the likelihood of trafficking... more »

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Scrupulous contractors

The solution to this issue is simple, go after the scrupulous contractors who violate the law by hiring and taking advantage of workers who are only trying to feed and cloth their family. Everyone wants to shy away from the contractors. Is it because of their political contributions. There can be a tiered progression of violations. Most severe violation is the direct contractor who hires the individual directly and takes... more »

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Partner with Child Welfare

Youth in the child welfare system are at increased risk of trafficking, but few talk about child labor trafficking. Partner with HHS and the EEOC to provide training and resources to organizations, families, and youth in the child welfare system so that they understand their rights as workers and how and where to report labor violations. Bring child labor trafficking out of the shadows.

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Revise Employment Visas to Stop Exploiting Immigrants

DOL should collaborate with DHS and DOS to recommend comprehensive revisions to employment-based visas, including J-1 "cultural exchange" visas, to stop putting immigrant workers at increased risk of abuse and exploitation. DOL, DHS, and DOS should share all data about visas applied for and granted to employers and recruiters, and all complaints, fines, and penalties assessed against all such employers and recruiters.... more »

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Strengthening and Enforcing Protections for Temporary Workers

Justice at Work has extensive experience with survivors of trafficking within the temporary work visa system (including H2-A, H2-B and J-1 workers). Many aspects of the current system lend themselves to trafficking and other abuses; we urge DOL to enforce existing regulations and strengthen worker protections in each of these areas.

First, many temporary workers are recruited by third party intermediaries, some of whom... more »

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Don't Deport Abused Workers

DOL and DHS must recommit to protecting immigrant workers, in all immigration statuses, during investigations by the DOL. No workers should be held in immigration detention or removed from the US until after the full investigation is complete, prosecution or civil action is complete, and workers have had ample opportunity to confer with immigration counsel. DOL should proactively provide all workers who are victims and... more »

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Increased Capacity and Training for WHD Investigators

Justice at Work urges DOL to dramatically increase the number of investigators at WHD and OSHA to address the needs of survivors of trafficking in an expedient and meaningful manner. Lengthy investigations leave survivors of trafficking and other immigrant workers in difficult economic situations and vulnerable to retrafficking. Increasing the number of investigators would also allow for additional outreach and affirmative... more »

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Language Access within WHD

Justice at Work suggests that DOL create immigrant worker specialists in each regional office and hire additional investigative staff with language skills that meet the needs of regional populations. Increased numbers of DOL investigators with Spanish and other language capacities will ensure survivors of trafficking and victims of crime have meaningful access to the services of the Department.

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Meaningful Protection from Retaliation

Justice at Work urges the Department of Labor to commit to using a wide range of methods to protect survivors of trafficking from retaliation by their traffickers. Employers frequently—and credibly—use threats of deportation to keep workers from reporting workplace abuses. DOL should revisit, strengthen and fully implement its 2011 Revised MOU between the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor Concerning Enforcement... more »

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NTA Policy Rescission

Justice at Work urges the Department of Labor to support rescission of the 2018 Policy Memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security that authorizes foreign nationals to be placed in removal proceedings based on a denial of certain immigration applications, including T and U visas. This policy harms survivors of trafficking and victims of crime by making them more afraid to come forward and apply for immigration... more »

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Zealously Work to End Migrant Worker Abuse

December 14, 2020

Submitted via IDEAS page

Mark Mittelhauser

Associate Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs

U.S. Department of Labor

RE: U.S. Department of Labor's Efforts to End Labor Trafficking National Online Dialogue

Dear Associate Deputy Undersecretary Mittelhauser:

This comment is being submitted by Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM), a binational non-profit with operations in the... more »

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Attorneys Present at WHD Interviews

Justice at Work recommends that DOL strengthen its commitment to supporting survivors of labor trafficking by allowing their legal representatives to be present during Wage and Hour Division interviews. Often, a trafficking survivor spends significant time with their attorney building trust as they consider their legal options—including whether to report to a law enforcement agency. The process of building trust and rapport... more »

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