Oregon Department Of Justice Unveils Labor Abuse Task Force

Jan 13, 2020
Originally published on January 10, 2020 9:50 am

The Oregon Department of Justice is announcing a new task force Friday aimed at addressing labor abuses.

The Labor Trafficking Task Force includes police, district attorneys, immigration advocates and state lawmakers.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said labor trafficking is a problem that’s not getting the attention it deserves.

"We have reason to believe, based on some groups that we’ve met with … people have been telling us we have an unaddressed problem of labor trafficking in Oregon," she said.

Rosenblum said some people are likely being taken advantage of because of their immigration status. She said she's especially concerned about employees in certain industries.

“Factory work, agricultural work, construction industry, generally these situations are marked by very poor working conditions sometime for no pay, or maybe only for nominal pay," she said. "Threats of reprisal against anyone who reports. Unfortunately, it sometimes comes along with undocumented workers who are afraid to report."

In 2007, Oregon lawmakers passed a law, making involuntary servitude a crime. But Rosenblum said state researchers couldn’t find one case where it had been prosecuted.

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