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2011 (Narrative Date)

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation.

Archun was trafficked from Thailand to the US and forced to work in the farming industry to pay of his debts.

A recruiter came to our village, people were asked to gather round and we were told about working in America and how much we would earn.

We were told our food bills and other expenses would be deducted from our pay. But the deduction wasn’t mentioned in the contract. After we arrived they said they couldn’t pay what was promised. We got paid less than the amount deducted from the food bills. But the worse thing was having to live in a container. There was no running water and it was full of mosquitos. More than 20 people had to share that one container. Living like this made me want to go home. But I couldn’t because I had a huge debt. My salary was very low and I could only afford to pay off the interest.

At first there was my father, mother and my wife. My father passed away three years after I left. I don’t want to fight with anyone, I just want justice. I want them to return what they’ve taken from us and our families.

Narrative and images provided by Al Jazeera