Our Mission & Who We Are
Global Workers Justice Alliance combats worker exploitation by promoting portable justice for transnational migrants through a cross-border network of advocates and resources.
Globalization has led to an unprecedented increase in the transnational movement of workers. Today an estimated 200 million migrants worldwide cross national borders seeking employment. Businesses are global. Workers are global. However, justice is not.
The migrant population is largely ignorant of its rights and resources and are easily taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers. As a result, they are often cheated of wages, fall prey to human trafficking schemes, are injured, and suffer other forms of exploitation.
The obstacles to achieving justice are nearly insurmountable when a worker leaves the United States and valid claims are routinely abandoned. Without portable justice, workers will continue to be abused within the globalized economy.
Global Workers Solution
We coined the term portable justice—the right and ability of transnational migrants to access justice even after they have departed-- to describe what is needed to ensure that migrant workers are no longer treated as a subservient, plentiful, and disposable workforce.
We realize portable justice primarily through the Global Workers Defender Network, which consists of human rights organizations in migrant-sending countries that partner with us to combat employment abuses of migrant workers both at home and abroad. We provide these local home-country partners with the tools and resources they need to address a challenge that they have long understood: labor exploitation of their transnational migrants.
- A U.S. citizen was assassinated outside his parents’ home in his native El Salvador. Following his murder, his employer attempted to locate the family to provide them the benefits they were due. After years of unsuccessful efforts, they contacted Global Workers for help. Within weeks, Global Workers located the family and helped them receive funds that would allow his children to attend school.
- A South Korean domestic worker was enslaved in a New York household for 12 years with no pay, and threatened with death, if she tried to escape. She is owed over a quarter of a million dollars. Global Workers connected the New York based non-profit with advocates in South Korea to assist them in search of the enslaver’s assets, all hidden in South Korea.
- A woman from the Mixteco region of Mexico was cheated out of her wages by the restaurant she worked for in the US. After returning to Mexico, the legal services organization that was helping her was unable to communicate with her. After countless attempts, they finally contacted Global Workers, and we connected them to our Mixteco-speaking partner in Mexico to help the woman receive the tens of thousands of dollars she was owed.
With your help, we will double our work by expanding our reach to four more states in Mexico and to three new countries in Central America. With an expanded Defender Network ready to help workers who have returned home after facing exploitation in the US many more workers will be able to stand up to abusive employers.
Global Workers Defender Network
Global Workers convened the 14 human rights organizations in Mexico and Guatemala that currently comprise the Defender Network to a unique forum to discuss challenges in achieving portable justice, future collaborations, and the network’s growth and development. Global Workers is building the capacity of these Defender organizations to become leaders in the defense of their migrants. We are creating opportunities for their voices to be heard in the global debate.
In 2012 we anticipate holding three additional trainings, to educate more Defenders about portable justice and labor rights.
In Guatemala and Mexico, Defenders educated over half a million migrants on workers rights in the US through workshops and trainings, Concurrently, all of our Defenders created educational “Know Your Rights” pamphlets to complement their educational outreach efforts, and distributed these to over 30,000 people.
Global Workers trained more than 100 US human rights attorneys on representing foreign clients who have departed from the U.S. More and more nationally renowned organizations are turning to Global Workers to help them face these new challenges
With your help, in 2012 we plan to expand our national and international outreach, educating even more migrants about their rights, and training more advocates on the resources available to them.
Global Workers, with the support of 15 of the nations leading workers rights organizations, successfully pressured the US government to release age and gender statistics on the H-2 visa workforce. The data revealed: 96% of all H-2A workers and 86% of all H-2B workers were male. The average age was 32 years old. This confirmed what advocates long suspected, that employers and recruiters prefer young, male migrant workers to work in the H-2 visa program.
With your help, we will push the US government to release this information annually, and strengthen our efforts to expose the truth about how some employers use the temporary guestworker program to bypass protections long fought for to protect workers.
Workers should not have to check their legal rights at the border.