FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 22, 2020
Spencer Tilger | | (206) 295 0606
Justice in Motion Releases New Report Urging Congress to Combat Human Trafficking of Guestworkers through Data Transparency
BROOKLYN, NY – Today, Justice in Motion released The Case for Transparency: Using Data to Combat Human Trafficking Under Temporary Foreign Worker Visas, a new report focused on the urgent need for Congress to use data transparency to prevent the trafficking of temporary foreign workers in the United States.
“Every year, 1.6 million migrant workers come to the U.S. on temporary worker visas to labor in industries like agriculture, hospitality, and food production. Far too often, they end up the victims of systemic abuse and exploitation enabled by the lack of open and accessible data about how these visas are used,” says Jeremy McLean, Policy and Advocacy Manager at Justice in Motion and author of the report. “Regardless of the results of the upcoming elections, this report is a call to action for Congress to make necessary reforms to these programs. These workers need protections, and that starts with a bipartisan commitment to transparency.”
While President Trump formally suspended H-1B, H-2B, H-4, L-1, and certain J-1 visas through the end of 2020, the Presidential Proclamation is not comprehensive and includes significant “national interest exceptions.” The Case for Transparency finds that policymakers could best protect workers and stop trafficking by creating a centralized and publicly accessible database of information about the use of temporary foreign work visas.
The report’s other key findings include:
Migrants have no reliable source of information they can turn to in order to verify job offers.
The government already collects most of the information advocates and policymakers need, but it is scattered across different agencies and the vast majority of it is not publically accessible.
Other attempts to access visa data, such as FOIA requests, are too limited, costly, and untimely for advocates or the government to rely on as an effective tool to combat human trafficking.
Read the full report here.
“Members of Congress from both parties and on all sides of the immigration debate should come together to support increased access to guestworker data – to protect workers from human trafficking, and to build fair and credible temporary work visa programs where migrants are paid fairly and treated with dignity.” -Excerpt from The Case for Transparency.
Legislative solutions include the Visa Transparency Anti-Trafficking (VTAT) Act, which currently has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress.
Justice in Motion protects migrant rights by ensuring justice across borders. Our unique network of on-the-ground human rights defenders in Mexico and Central America partner with U.S. advocates to make sure that wherever migrants go, their rights will follow.