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Immigration Summit in Houston to Focus on Human Trafficking

An unfortunate reality of the industry we cover is that there are many instances of worker abuse. We have documented much of this on Construction Citizen over the years.  Terrible working conditions, worker misclassification, lack of health insurance and workers’ compensation insurance, denial of overtime pay and other problems honestly keep me up at night.  But, I was only fairly recently alerted to just how prevalent human trafficking is in construction.

Houston is ground zero for human trafficking in the United States and for that reason, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Bridging America Task Force will present its third immigration summit on March 18 at 8 am at Rice University.  The Immigration Summit 3.0 - Human Trafficking, Security and Immigration Reform will focus on human trafficking and help people understand how comprehensive immigration reform – now pending in Washington – would help to at least start to resolve the problem.  It certainly wouldn't make the problem go away, but if some of the people now forced to live in the shadows could come out into the light, law enforcement would have better tools at its disposal to root out much of the problem.

There will be a breakfast starting at 8am at Rice in the Rice Memorial Hall in the student center.  The program starts at 8:30 and will include Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Global Diversity Manager for Delta Airlines Letty Ashworth, and a representative of the US House Homeland Security Committee.  There will also be a presentation from Rice University Sociologist Stephen Klineberg.

“AJC’s Bridging America Task Force, in partnership with Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research is convening a summit to discuss human trafficking and immigration reform,” Randy Czarlinsky, Director of AJC Houston Region said.  “Today, in this country, women and children continue to suffer from unspeakable violence because they are afraid to seek help without legal status.  Globally, 78 percent of those trafficked suffer from forced labor, including domestic servitude, farm and factory work in the U.S.  When immigrant survivors of abuse without legal status are, according to one study, half as likely to call the police to seek the help they need.  We must act by passing immigration reform legislation.”

Construction Citizen is proud to be a co-sponsor of the event along with the following organizations:

  • AJC Houston and Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research
  • Americans for Immigration Reform
  • Asian Chamber of Commerce
  • Harris County Sheriff’s Office
  • Texas GOP Vote
  • Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition
  • Houstonia Magazine 
  • Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston
  • Mi Familia Vota
  • NALEO Educational Fund
  • Office of Justice and Peace for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
  • The Metropolitan Organization (TMO)
  • Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • University of Houston Law Center’s Immigration Clinic

RSVP to kahnm@ajc.org by March 13, or register online.  There is no cost for the summit.

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