We have exciting news! Last week Maryland State Senator Susan Lee, a champion for labor trafficking survivors, introduced SB 742 – The Fair Recruitment and Transparency Act in the Maryland legislature. CDM is working with the Maryland Catholic Conference and many other partners in this effort to ensure migrant workers are treated fairly!
We have a lot of work to do! Our first hearing on the bill is happening Feb. 27th in Annapolis, MD.
In Maryland, migrant workers in the H-2 program work as landscapers, farmworkers, and, very commonly, in the thriving seafood industry.
SB 742 would prevent abuse, including trafficking and exploitation, of migrant workers on H-2 visas by:
- Prohibiting discrimination in recruitment, hiring, and job assignments
- Banning recruitment fees to prevent workers from arriving indebted and more vulnerable to coercive labor conditions
- Requiring the licensing of recruiters and the creation of a registry to ensure workers know who they are working with
It also calls for a state workgroup to study the J-1 program in Maryland.
This bill is a decisive action in our fight for migrant workers.
Our history with Maryland migrant workers started before then when we first met a group of women in a rural community in San Luis Potosi. They shared the abuse and injustices they experienced in the crab houses as H-2B crab pickers in the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Since then, many of those women have joined our Migrant Defense Committee, and we have supported them in speaking out and exposing labor violations. With your support, our impactful 2010 Picked Apart report and advocacy were key in leading to improvements in the industry and H-2B program.
Now more than ever, we need your support to win protections for all Maryland H-2 workers and advance justice for J-1 workers under the law. With a contribution of $15 today, you can directly fund our efforts to amplify and advance this legislation.