New Oregon task force examines overlooked issue of labor trafficking

Article subtitle: 
Awareness of sex trafficking has risen while labor trafficking crimes have gone unprosecuted. The attorney general's new task force seeks to change that.
Article author: 
Jake Thomas/Oregon Capital Bureau
Article publisher: 
Pamplin Media
Article date: 
Thursday, January 23, 2020
Article category: 
Oregon Issues
Article Body: 

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has launched a new task force intended to address the overlooked issue of forced labor. 

In 2007, lawmakers passed a bill creating the crime of involuntary servitude, where a person forces, threatens or coerces another person into performing labor or services for little or no pay. The law also made it illegal to traffic people with the aim of forcing them into labor. 

But despite the bill's passage, there have been no prosecutions of labor trafficking anywhere in the state, according to the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.  

"Human trafficking includes both sex trafficking and labor trafficking, but almost all of our public awareness focuses on sex trafficking. What we hear so far is that labor trafficking is very real, and it is happening under the radar in all corners of the state," said Rosenblum in a statement announcing the task force. "I want this task force to dig into this terrible crime. All sources suggest we lack the tools to identify, investigate and prosecute labor trafficking in our communities. We need to change that.". . .