Labor Trafficking

Photo by Anaya Katlego on Unsplash

What is Labor Trafficking?

Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Forced Labor

Forced labor is any work or service which people are forced, tricked, or coerced to do against their will. Force labor happens in both formal and informal labor settings. Almost all trafficking experience, including sex trafficking, contain some element of forced labor.

Domestic Servitude

Domestic servitude is a sub-category of forced labor that happens in a domestic setting, such as a home. This includes childcare or care for the elderly, housekeeping, maids or servants, nannying, and other work happening in homes.

It has unique challenges because homes can be a very isolated setting.

Debt Bondage/Peonage

These terms have been used interchangeably to describe when a person is forced to engage in labor to pay off a debt, and is also know as bonded labor.

Peonage can sometimes refer to 'social debts' or connection to systemic debts rather than an interpersonal debt, such as prison laborers.

Industries and Locations

Labor trafficking happens anywhere that jobs and work happen. This includes rural, suburban, and urban contexts. You can click each of the sections to learn more about specific industries connections to trafficking.

Resources in New Mexico

New Mexico Legal Aid

New Mexico Immigrant Law Center


  • Forced drug trafficking
  • Forced sex work
  • Forced begging
  • Force criminal activity such as stealing cars, robbery, etc.


  • Selling magazines
  • Door-to-door sales
  • Peddling

Domestic work

  • Nanny/Childcare Services
  • Maid/House Cleaning Services
  • Elder care
  • Agricultural Industries
  • Oil and Gas Industries


  • Hotels
  • Restaurants and food service
  • Massage parlors
  • Nail Salons
  • Night Clubs