The crime of human trafficking, told through the eyes of victims.

These are survivor-informed lived experiences, composite narratives of real-life situations and events.


People who are or were exploited by a trafficker.


Based on information received from experts who have lived experience with human trafficking.


Wanted to get out of debt.

An account of labor trafficking in the agriculture industry.

I moved my family to Colorado to live and work on my cousins’ farm.

I thought it was generous of them to offer us jobs and a free place to stay. I had a lot of debt.

A trafficker will exploit any perceived vulnerability, such as being in debt.

Once we were there, things turned bad.
I owed my cousins for travel expenses, food, and our housing.
There was always more debt to work off.

This is debt bondage, where one works to pay off debt which can never be paid, keeping the trafficker in control.

We were working in the fields, and in the home all without pay.
I built a fence around the 443 acre property and a large barn.
They threatened to withhold food and kick us out with no money.

This is a form of fraud because James’ cousins promised him a job and then later refused to pay him.

Threats are a form of coercion; part of a scheme to keep James and his family in a desperate situation.

We wouldn’t get water or bathroom breaks.
We never got paid. We grew totally dependent on my cousins.

Not paying someone when you said you would, is fraud.

My cousins told us if we tried to leave they would call the police.
We had no place to go, we had no other family.

Threatening to report someone to authorities to keep them in a trafficking situation is coercion.

We were being watched all the time, we were afraid all the time.

Constant monitoring is a form of force, too.

All I want is to work off my debt and make it right for my family.