Interview, Victoria Law's Blog

Inside the dark, booming business of coerced immigrant detainee labor— This is Hell Podcast

This is Hell
June 2nd, 2018

In these private detention centers across the country, people who have been detained are saying they’re forced to labor under the ‘Voluntary Work Program’ in which people who are in immigrant detention are supposed to work and be paid $1 a day. Contrary to what the name is, people who are filing suit say it’s not a ‘voluntary’ work program. If they do not work they are threatened with being placed in solitary confinement, with being placed in more violent housing units, and with having basic necessities withheld from them.

Journalist Victoria Law reports on the $1-per-day labor of detained immigrants at privately run detention centers – under threat of solitary confinement and lack of food and sanitary items for refusing “voluntary” work – and explains why a series of lawsuits accusing ICE of human trafficking might bring down the private/public exploitation scheme.

Victoria wrote the feature Investigation: Corporations Are Profiting From Immigrant Detainees’ Labor. Some Say It’s Slavery. for In These Times.

Victoria Law is a writer, photographer and mother. After a brief stint as a teenage armed robber, she became involved in prisoner support. In 1996, she helped start Books Through Bars-New York City, a group that sends free books to prisoners nationwide. In 2000, she began concentrating on the needs and actions of women in prison, drawing attention to their issues by writing articles and giving public presentations. Since 2002, she has worked with women incarcerated nationwide to produce “Tenacious: Art and Writings from Women in Prison” and has facilitated having incarcerated women’s writings published in larger publications. She is the coeditor of Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities.

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