Indicators of Human Trafficking among Migrant Farm Worker Communities in Western Michigan


Jeremy Norwood, JD, PhD | September 20 | 10:15-11:15 AM

Topic: Research | Knowledge Level: Intermediate, Advanced

This exploratory study was designed to research indicators of human trafficking within migrant farmworker communities in Western Michigan. Much of the research on human trafficking has focused exclusively on sex trafficking and very few studies have been done on labor trafficking (Zhang, 2012). Furthermore, the majority of the research conducted on human trafficking has used the nation-state as a focal point instead of a particular region or locality (see Shelley, 2010 and O’Neill-Richard, 1999). For example, there has been a wealth of research done on the United States, but very few studies have been conducted within individual states themselves (Bales, 2000). This study was formulated in order to fill the gaps within the research and focuses exclusively on indicators of labor trafficking in Western Michigan. In completing this research, this presenter spent several months interviewing 15 different professionals from various occupations who worked regularly with migrant farmworkers in Western Michigan and another 15 migrant farm workers who worked in Oceana County, one of the counties in Western Michigan which hosts the largest number of migrant farmworkers every growing season. The pool of professionals who were interviewed was diverse and the counties or other localities they worked in showed the diversity of approaches to migrant farm workers in Western Michigan. The migrant farmworkers were working in Oceana County when interviewed but had a great deal of other experiences to draw from when responding.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Describe indicators of human trafficking during the migratory process.

·  Identify indicators of human trafficking through the recruitment process.

·  Explain indicators of human trafficking based on living and working conditions.

·  Present indicators of human trafficking based on social circumstances.

About the Presenter