Clinic News

Professor Laurel Fletcher Releases New Report on Forced Labor in California (2/25/2005)

Clinic Director Laurel Fletcher released a new report on forced labor in California and testified about the findings during a state Assembly committee hearing in Los Angeles on Friday, February 25, 2005.

The report, "Freedom Denied: Forced Labor in California," is a project with UC Berkeley's Human Rights Center and follows an influential national report, "Hidden Slaves: Forced Labor in the United States" that the center released on this issue in Washington D.C. last fall. Clinic students Nasrina Bargzie '05, Shelley Cavalieri '06, Neha Desai '06, and Maximino Fuentes '06 contributed to the report.

The new report looks at the nature and scope of the problem of forced labor in California, finding that such cases take place across the state, though 80 percent of the incidents occur in just three metropolitan areas, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Individuals are forced into prostitution, domestic service, and sweatshop work, often with little or no compensation.

The report recommends that California legislators enact new criminal laws against forced labor, train law enforcement officers and other first responders to recognize forced labor situations, and increase critical support services -- such as safe housing and access to legal counsel -- for forced labor victims.