A journal of academic theology

Human Trafficking, Coercion, and Moral Agency in Agricultural Labor

The isolation and perceived interchangeability of agricultural laborers places them at risk for trafficking, and coercion often plays a significant role in keeping them at work under unjust circumstances. However, the concept of coercion is narrowly conceived in the public response to trafficking. Coercion is in fact culture-, race-, and gender-specific, and laborers often fall into intersectional forms of exploitation that deeply impinge upon their agency. This article probes the dimensions of agricultural exploitation and more specifically coercion. In so doing, it draws upon conceptions of labor justice and structural sin to reframe the understanding of moral agency implicit within the anti-trafficking conversation.