By Lindsay Guentzel, 830 NewsRadio WCCO
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A report released Tuesday addresses the growing issue of labor trafficking and exploitation in Minnesota.
The report highlights the abuse and offers solutions for a problem that affects more than 21 million people worldwide.
Michele Garnett McKenzie is the deputy director of The Advocates for Human Rights.
“We have to be able to identify when trafficking happens, and when people are victims of human trafficking crimes,” Garnett McKenzie said. “And that was one of the first problems we found happening here in Minnesota is that we just don’t see labor trafficking even when it’s happening.”
She says the report found cases where workers were denied pay and rest breaks, and had immigration threats used against them to keep workers quiet.
Garnett McKenzie says many victims are hidden in industries that are behind the scenes, or what she calls “invisible,” and are vulnerable to threats made by their employers – including sexual abuse.