One of the more underreported stories lately are those about day laborers and the economy. Whatever side of the immigration debate, exploitation of day laborers is very real. I found a small story in La Opinion one day about a researcher who discovered a website that was a how-to guide on how to pick up a day laborer and lure him into sex. The laborers were fooled with stories about work needing to be done, but were then threatened with deportation if sex with the so-called employer didn’t take place. From my story:
VAN NUYS – As they pass time on the corner of Kester and Oxnard streets looking for work, day laborers tell stories.
They talk about a man who drives by in the afternoons, pretending to need someone to mow the lawn, trim some trees or paint the garage.
What the man really wants is sex. And he’s looking for a man to hire for the day.
“I tried to ask him what kind of work he wanted, and at first he said one thing, then another, so I didn’t want to go,” one worker recently said at the Van Nuys street corner.
“These days, you have to know who you are getting in the car with,” he said. “These days, you better ask all the questions before you get in and go. Bad things can happen very fast.”
With thousands of undocumented immigrants looking for work every day in Southern California, the practice of hiring day laborers for sex has some health experts concerned about the rapid spread of AIDS in the immigrant community.
Here’s my full story in the Daily News from July 2, 2006.