Forced labor is "a chronic disease" of the United States that goes all the way back to the founding of the country, which remains "rampant today," and is "getting worse than ever," said a newly released report on Tuesday.
The report, titled "The United States' Practice of Forced Labor at Home and Abroad: Truth and Facts," said it aims to clarify facts, debunk lies, and help the world better understand what forced labor is and who engages in it.
According to the International Labour Organization, the United States has ratified only 14 international labor conventions, one of the lowest numbers among member states. It has ratified only two out of the 10 core conventions, and has not yet ratified the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 till this day, the report said.
"Forced labor in the United States was born and grew with the founding of the nation," said the report. "Slave trade was an original sin of the United States. When the United States was founded, it was the blood and tears of millions of black slaves sold to the country that helped create immense wealth and complete the primitive accumulation of capital."
The United States has "a horrible track record" of forced labor, the report said.
Over the years, the U.S. government has deliberately evaded its responsibility for labor protection, resulting in "slave labor" among prisoners in private prisons, rampant use of child labor, and appalling forced labor in the agriculture sector, effectively making America a country of "modern slavery," it said.
"For years, private prisons in the United States have colluded with greedy politicians to force prisoners to work, thus turning private prisons into 'concentration camps' of slavery where they could make fortunes by exploiting the poor," the report said.
"Forced labor of women and children is appalling," the report said, adding that the United States remains the only one of the 193 member states of the United Nations (UN) that has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch was cited by the report as saying that 240,000 to 325,000 women and children are at risk for sexual exploitation each year in the United States.
"Forced labor is prevalent in numerous sectors in the United States," the report said.
American society does not provide enough support and relief to victims who were freed from forced labor, leaving them voluntarily falling into new traps of forced labor just to make a living, and forever haunted by a vicious cycle of enslavement and oppression, the report said.