November 1, 2013
When Daniel first called the National Human Trafficking Hotline, he was in a very remote area, a long way from his native home, and did not know his address. Daniel explained that he had come to the U.S. on an H-2A Visa and began working on a farm with a group of mostly men who also held the same visa.
After arriving, Daniel and his coworkers began working extremely long days with limited access to food and water and were paid less than they had been promised. He reported that his employer verbally abused the workers on a daily basis and also disclosed that he had witnessed his employer physically assault a coworker. Daniel explained that they were afraid to leave the farm, because their employer had confiscated their passports upon arrival and refused to give them back even though the workers had asked repeatedly. Furthermore, the nearest town was far away and the workers had no way of getting there.
Daniel was concerned because his visa was tied to his employer, and if he were to leave the farm abruptly, his visa would be invalid. He worried he might never be allowed to come to the U.S. again. The hotline specialist talked to Daniel about his options. Daniel and his coworkers decided they wanted to report the abuses occurring at the farm to law enforcement. The National Hotline reported this situation to a federal law enforcement contact in the area. At the same time, the National Hotline connected Daniel and the other workers with an attorney. The attorney later contacted the National Hotline and explained that Daniel and his coworkers were able to safely leave the farm. A large scale investigation by the Department of Labor has been opened into this farm, and many of the workers have now been paid the back-wage payments they were owed by the employer.