As a result of investigating and reporting on trafficking for the past six years, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to address trafficking is by not addressing trafficking head on, but by addressing weaknesses in labor rights enforcement.
We need to monitor the lowest-end workplaces and continually improve our efforts to ensure that “rotten apple” employers and vulnerable workers on American soil don’t create situations that imperil labor and employer rights by creating an unlevel playing field. We need to minimize illegal immigration by creating disincentives on every side of the issues, whether that means nailing employers who break American laws, discouraging immigration through improved economic policies back in immigrants’ home countries, and empowering all workers on American soil to share the same rights.
In short, it’s devising (instead of improvising) long term labor and immigration policies and then enforcing them.
What can you do as a consumer? Speak up. Most corporations aren’t evil in the way they get painted; their goal is to make money. Towards this end, they invest a lot in their brand. If consumers start complaining and threatening to take their business elsewhere, it gets their attention, which translates into a response.
Read about what the Campaign for Fair Food and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers have managed to do with Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, and McDonalds. Their complaints have brought about change. Their next target is Burger King. Help them out. Give Burger King your opinion about repeated instances of slavery in their supply chain.
Read the whole interview with The Iowa Independent.