Thanks to an undercover investigation carried out by our US team, six women who were trapped in sexual exploitation are now free, their place of work has been shut down, and the alleged perpetrators arrested.
We were contacted by local law enforcement, who suspected that illegal activity was taking place at a restaurant in the Southern United States.
Our team of licensed investigators carried out undercover filming and found that the women, aged between 18 and 22, had been coerced into sex work, after accepting jobs as waitresses. The women were also being forced to give half their wages back to their employers.
One of the women told one of our investigators that she had no choice but to continue doing the work, because she had lost her original job due to Covid-19. Her mother was unable to work and had large medical bills, and the woman had no other way to support herself and her mother.
Our US Team Leader, Richard Schoeberl, said: “We are finding that many people are being forced to stay in jobs because of economic depression caused by Covid-19. These local women were aware that they were being exploited and controlled, but they lived in a rural area with very few work opportunities, and simply felt they had no other option.”
Our filming provided evidence that people were being solicited, which enabled law enforcement to close the venue and make the arrests.
Our team then provided the group of women with emergency support including food and other essentials, medical care and counseling. We will continue to support them as they recover from their experiences and search for jobs.