Forum Hosts Labor Trafficking Seminar

By on August 18, 2017

by Tom Finan, Executive Director, Construction Forum STL

Is labor trafficking actually a thing in the St. Louis construction industry? It may well become one, as downward pressure on wages and a scarcity of skilled trades converge.

That was one of the messages that was heard last week when Construction Forum STL hosted a half-day seminar on labor trafficking. The seminar was produced by the Human Trafficking Collaborative Network (HTCN). The HTCN is comprised of representatives of healthcare education, research, medicine, social work and law enforcement organizations.

An FBI special agent addresses the seminar.

Original plans called for holding the event in the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors (NECA) building. But by Tuesday afternoon, the day prior to the event, interest was so strong that Dennis Gralike, director of the IBEW/NECA St. Louis Electrical Training Center donated his organization’s auditorium.

Attendees included representatives of legal and governmental organizations, including the Missouri Attorney General’s office; labor unions; several universities; social service agencies; and area hospitals.

A highlight of the program was a presentation by two FBI agents of the logistical and legal issues that they encounter in investigating and prosecuting labor trafficking.

In one case the agents cited, two “coyotes” from Mexico housed 15 people, including trafficked labor and children, in a two bedroom apartment in the Bridgeton area.

 

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