The Montclair Interest Group against Human Trafficking (MIGHT) will be holding an event on labor trafficking called “Out of the Fields” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the School of Communication and Media Presentation Hall this Thursday, March 5.
The main focus of the event is to bring attention to the trafficking that is occurring in food production and how to prevent and avoid the exploitation that happens in production and service industries. The food items shopped for at the supermarket or eaten at a restaurant could have potentially been produced by victims of labor trafficking.
Cases of labor trafficking typically affect seasonal farmhands and victims include men, women, families and children as young as five years old. These victims are forced to harvest crops, raise animals in the fields and do other farm work for exploitation and trafficking purposes.
Arnaud Kurze, moderator and professor of justice studies, discussed why Montclair State University students might be interested in an event on labor trafficking.
“Labor exploitation, the focus of our event, is part of a global issue that affects local communities,” Kurze said. “Individual choices, such as deciding to have an impact on the provenance of one’s food, has thus become a Trojan horse to actively be part of desired social change to live more just lives and create a world in which individuals are able to shape the future. Many of our students identify with these principles and for these reasons have expressed interest to participate in or be part of this event.”
By holding this event through roundtable activities, a presentation and a Q&A session, MIGHT members hope to bring more attention to the different types of human trafficking and get Montclair State students and faculty involved in ending trafficking.
Kurze discussed why Montclair State, a diverse school in New Jersey, is trying to bring awareness to the exploitation of farmhands through labor trafficking.
“It is our mission, as a higher education institution, to educate our campus community and the wider [Montclair, New Jersey] community about these problems and provide solutions on how to address them,” Kurze said. “By inviting advocacy groups that promote the rights of victims, we are providing a platform for stakeholders to share their experiences and help understand the underlying social and systemic challenges that are part of this problem.”