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If you think forced labor in the U.S. is primarily based in agricultural and domestic industries, then think again. According to an article published at In These Times, between 2007 and 2009, 350 Filipino teachers arrived in Louisiana, excited for the opportunity to teach math and science in public schools throughout the state, but their journey through the American public school system was fraught with abuse, as a lawsuit revealed.
According to court documents, Lourdes Navarro, chief recruiter and head of Universal Placement, made applicants pay a whopping $12,550 in interview and “processing fees” before they’d even left the Philippines. But the exploitation didn’t stop there. Immediately after the teachers landed in LAX, Navarro coerced them into signing a contract paying her 10 percent of their first and second years’ salaries; she threatened those who refused with instant deportation. Even after they started at their schools, Navarro kept the teachers dependent on her by only obtaining them one-year visas before exorbitantly charging them for an annual renewal fee. She also confiscated their passports.
Researchers estimate that anywhere from 14,000 to 20,000 teachers, imported on temporary guest worker visas, teach in American public schools nationwide. Such hiring practices are often framed as cultural exchange programs, but as Timothy Noah of the New Republic points out—in this case about Maryland’s Prince George County—“When 10 percent of a school district’s teachers are foreign migrants, that isn’t cultural exchange. It’s sweatshop labor—and a depressing indicator of how low a priority public education has become.”
In the case of teacher trafficking, teachers become moveable parts, switched out in accordance with the iron laws of supply and demand in order to more efficiently output successful test scores, whose value comes to represent students themselves.
The above is an excerpt as published at IN THESE TIMES.
Read the complete article >>
Register now for the CLE-accredited* webinar Human Trafficking: Forced Labor & Federal Enforcement scheduled Wednesday, June 25, at 2 p.m.
* 1.5 CLE Credits are available for this webinar.
It is necessary to understand as to why is there such a scenario. There is a scarcity of teaching faculty and thus teachers have to be brought from other countries to perform teaching activities.