Imagine for a moment, working long hours into the night, your back hurting, your lungs stinging from the spicy dust of a well-known chip the factory you’re employed with is producing. Imagine enduring this while also being a minor, still in high school.
People often forget that human trafficking is more than sex trafficking; it is also labor trafficking, and often exists in plain sight.
West Michigan is currently under the microscope for a local food production factory violating child labor laws.
In late February, the New York Times (The Times) published an article highlighting labor trafficking here in West Michigan. WOOD TV also published an article locally.
This matter was brought to the attention of Women At Risk, International (WAR, Int’l) when Rebecca McDonald, WAR, Int’l founder & president, received an email from a local employment placement firm, detailing their applicant screening practices and policies. Understandably, this firm wanted to disclose that their processes met legal guidelines which would help their clients meet legal guidelines too.
An Illinois-based food manufacturer that has production sites in Grand Rapids, MI hired a local employment agency, who allegedly hired the underage workers. The manufacturer has now hired an agency to conduct an independent review of staffing policies and plant conditions. This review is expected to take 60 days.
What can you do to make a difference? #CircleOfProtection
1) To better understand the risks, learn more here.
2) For additional resources, find them here.
3) To receive training as a Civilian First Responder (CFR), read more here.