Midwestern Service Provider Narratives of Migrant Experiences: Legibility, Vulnerability, and Exploitation in Human Trafficking

  • Jennifer Chappell Deckert University of Kansas Bethel College
  • Sherry Warren University of Kansas
  • Hannah Britton University of KansasPolitical ScienceWomen, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Keywords: Service providers, human trafficking, vulnerability, migrants, labor exploitation

Abstract

This exploratory study examined the vulnerability and exploitation of migrants from the perspective of service providers who work in social service organizations. Researchers conducted 16 interviews and 1 focus group with service providers whose clientele had direct experience with migration. These service providers indicated that there is incongruence, even tension, between a welcoming local response to migrant populations and the state-level political rhetoric and policy initiatives, which are predominantly anti-immigration. This study demonstrates that there are contradictions and tensions related especially to exploitation in Midwest migrant populations. Service providers acknowledged complexity in the problems related to migrant vulnerability and exploitation and were interested in change. Findings of this study highlight particular vulnerabilities of migrant populations, a lack of legibility of human trafficking in social service organizations, and a difference between political rhetoric and local responses to migrant populations. Policies and practices in social service delivery need to reflect the subtleties of risk for exploitation and offer broad preventive support for migrant populations through education and advocacy.

Author Biographies

Jennifer Chappell Deckert, University of Kansas Bethel College
Jennifer's research interests include international social work, mental health, migration, human rights, pedagogy, and human behavior theory.  She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas and Assistant Professor of Social Work at Bethel College.
Sherry Warren, University of Kansas
Sherry's interests are in spirituality and mindfulness practices, international social work and globalization, women's well-being worldwide, and social work education. Sherry is a doctoral student at the University of Kansas and Assistant Professor of Social Work at Clarke University.
Hannah Britton, University of KansasPolitical ScienceWomen, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Hannah Britton is an associate professor in the departments of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies. Britton's scholarship focuses on women and politics, gender and African politics, the prevention of gender-based violence, and human trafficking. Britton is also the Director of the Center for the Study of Injustice at the Institute of Policy & Social Research at the University of Kansas. In this role, she coordinates KU's Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Initiative (ASHTI), which is a working group of faculty and students engaged in teaching and research about slavery, labor exploitation, and commercial sexual exploitation. She is the lead researcher on a project in the Midwest examining the factors that may leave someone vulnerable to exploitation. Hannah also coordinates a working group of faculty and graduate students using qualitative research methods in their teaching and scholarship.

References

Agbényiga, D. L., & Huang, L. (2012). Gendered immigration: Implications and impact on social work education. Advances in Social Work, 13(2), 291-305.

Artz, G.M. (2012). Immigration and meatpacking in the Midwest". Choices. Quarter 2. Available online: http://choicesmagazine.org/choices-magazine/theme-articles/immigration-and-agriculture/immigration-and-meatpacking-in-the-midwest-

Author X

Ayón, C. (2016). Talking to Latino children about race, inequality, and discrimination: Raising families in an anti-immigrant political environment. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 7(3), 449-477.

Ayón, C., & Becerra, D. (2013). Mexican immigrant families under siege: The impact of anti-immigrant policies, discrimination, and the economic crisis. Advances in Social Work, 14(1), 206-228.

Balgopal, P. R. (2000). Social work practice with immigrants and refugees. New York: Columbia University Press.

Barrick, K., Lattimore, P. K., Pitts, W. J., & Zhang, S. X. (2014). When farmworkers and advocates see trafficking but law enforcement does not: Challenges in identifying labor trafficking in North Carolina. Crime, Law and Social Change, 61(2), 205-214.

Ben-David, A. (1995). Family functioning and migration: Considerations for practice. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 22(3), 121-137.

Brennan, D. (2005). Methodological challenges in research with trafficked persons: Tales from the field. International Migration, 43(1-2), 35-54.

Bromfield, N. F. & Capous-Desyllas, M. (2012). Underlying motives, moral agendas and unlikely partnerships: The formulation of the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act through the data and voices of key policy players. Advances in Social Work, 13(2), 243-261.

Capous-Desyllas, M. (2007). A critique of the global trafficking discourse and US policy. Journal of Sociologu & Social Welfare, 34, 57-79.

Chang-Muy, F., & Congress, E. P. (2008). Social work with immigrants and refugees: Legal issues, clinical skills, and advocacy. New York: Springer.

Chapkis, Wendy. 2003. “Trafficking, migration, and the law: Protecting innocents, punishing immigrants.” Gender and Society, 17(6), 923-937.

Del Mar Farina, M. (2013). Failure to mourn “White Nativism”: Impact of deportation on Hispanic American–born children and mixed-status families. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 83, 139–169.

Dominelli, L. (2010). Social work in a globalizing world. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Farrell, A., McDevitt, J., and Fahy, S. (2010). Where are all the victims? Understanding the determinants of official identification of human trafficking incidents. Criminology and Public Policy, 9(2), 201-233.

Furman, R., Ackerman, A. R., Loya, M., Jones, S., & Negi, N. (2012). The criminalization of immigration: Value conflicts for the social work profession. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 39, 169-185.

Gleason, K.D., Baker, C., Carangan, A., Espinueva, J., Herrera-Mendoza, A., Lukacinsky, D., & Remis, A. (2016). The importance of considering local context when attempting to address human trafficking: A qualitative study with service providers and advocates in Hawai‘i. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 7(3), 1-13. Retrieved 17/09/2017, from (http://www.gjcpp.org/).

Hodge, D. R., & Lietz, C. A. (2007). The international sexual trafficking of women and children: A review of the literature. Affilia, 22(2), 163-174.

Izcara Palacios, S. P., & Yamamoto, Y. (2017). Trafficking in US agriculture. Antipode, 1-23.

Jones, L., Engstrom, D. W., Hilliard, T., & Diaz, M. (2007). Globalization and human trafficking. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 34, 107-122.

Kaufka Walts JD, K. (2017). Child labor trafficking in the United States: A hidden crime. Social Inclusion, 5(2), 59-68.

Kelleher, C., & McGilloway, S. (2009). ‘Nobody ever chooses this...’: A qualitative study of service providers working in the sexual violence sector-key issues and challenges. Health & Social Care in the Community, 17(3), 295-303.

Kempadoo, K. (2001). Women of color and the global sex trade: Transnational feminist perspectives. Meridians, 1(2), 28–51.

Kim, M. (2009). The political economy of immigration and the emergence of transnationalism. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 19, 675–689.

Lipsky, M. (2010). Street-level bureaucracy, 30th ann. Ed.: Dilemmas of the individual in public

service. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.

Martin, P. (2012). Hired farm workers. Choices, Quarter 2. Available online: http://choicesmagazine.org/choices-magazine/theme-articles/immigration-and- agriculture/hired-farm-workers

Nash, M., Wong, J., & Trlin, A. (2006). Civic and social integration: A new field of social work practice with immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. International Social Work, 49(3), 345-363.

Negi, N. J., Michalopoulos, L., Boyas, J., & Overdorff, A. (2013). Social networks that promote well-being among Latino migrant day laborers. Advances in Social Work, 14(1), 247-259.

O’Neill Richard, A. (1999). International trafficking in women to the United States: A contemporary manifestation of slavery and organized crime. Center for the Study of Intelligence. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/trafficking.pdf

Owens, C., Dank, M., Breaux, J., Banuelos, I., Farrell, A., Pfeffer, R., & McDevitt, J. (2014). Understanding the organization, operation, and victimization process of labor trafficking in the United States (Research Report). Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/research/publication/understanding-organization-operation-andvictimization-process-labor-trafficking-united-states

Peksen, D., Blanton, S. L., & Blanton, R. G. (2017). Neoliberal policies and human trafficking for labor: Free markets, unfree workers?. Political Research Quarterly, 70(3), 673-686.

Romero, S., & Williams, M. R. (2013). The impact of immigration legislations on Latino families: Implications for social work. Advances in Social Work, 14(1), 229-246.

Salett, P. E. (2006, November). Human trafficking and modern day slavery. Human rights and international affairs: Practice update. Retrieved from: http://www.socialworker.org/diversity/affirmative_action/humanTraffic1206.PDF

Sassen, S. 2002). Women’s burden: Counter-geographies of globalization and the feminization of survival. Nordic Journal of International Law, 71, 255-74.

Simmelink, J. A., & Shannon, P. (2012). Evaluating the mental health training needs of community-based organizations serving refugees. Advances in Social Work, 13(2), 325-339.

Sirojudin, S. (2009). Economic theories of emigration. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 19, 702-712.

Srikantiah, J. (2007). Perfect victims and real survivors: The iconic victim in domestic human trafficking law. Boston University Law Review, 87, 157-211.

Stienstra, D. (1996). Madonna/whore, pimp /protector: International law and organization related to prostitution. Studies in Political Economy, 51, 183-217.

Schwarz, C. (2017). Human trafficking in the Midwest: Service providers’ perspectives on sex and labor trafficking. University of Kansas Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Initiative. Retrieved from https://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/bitstream/handle/1808/23853/ASHTI_ServiceProviderPerspectives_2017.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2004). United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the protocols thereto. New York, NY: United Nations.

U.S. Congress. House of Representatives. Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, Pub. L. No. 106-386, 114 Stat. 1464. (2000). Retrieved September, 16, 2017 from http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/10492.pdf

U.S. Department of State. (2017). Trafficking in persons report. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of State.

Valtonen, K. (2001). Social work with immigrants and refugees: Developing a participation-based framework for anti‐oppressive practice. British Journal of Social Work, 31(6),

-960.

Weitzer, R. (2012). Sex trafficking and the sex industry: The need for evidence-based theory and legislation. The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 101(4), 1337-1370.

Weitzer, R. (2014). New directions in research on human trafficking. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 653, 6-24.

Zhang, S. X. (2012). Measuring labor trafficking: A research note. Crime, Law, and Social Change, 58, 469-482.

Zhang, S. X., Spiller, M. W., Finch, B. K., and Qin, Y. (2014). Estimating labor trafficking among unauthorized migrant workers in San Diego. The ANNALS of the American Acade

Published
2018-09-18