Noah Zatz and Kathleen Kim Examine Coerced Labor

Noah Zatz (’01), Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, and Kathleen Kim (’02), Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusion at Loyola Law School, contributed articles to the Law and Political Economy Project’s LPE Blog symposium on “status coercion,” a core concept of Erin Hatton’s book, Coerced: Work Under Threat of Punishment, which examines coerced labor within seemingly disparate structures, including: prison labor, welfare work programs, undergraduate student athletics, and graduate student research. Noah noted, “Indeed, and with specific significance for legal scholars, Hatton argues that the sociolegal construction of certain institutions as non-workplaces facilitates status coercion. This characterization, as I’ve also explored in my work, turns principally on dissociating work from market forms and associating it with some kind of non-market cultural and institutional domain.” (“Labor Coercion and the Status/Economy Distinction,” Jul. 12). Kathleen examined human trafficking through the lens of “status coercion,” concluding: “In short, even after trafficked workers are liberated from conditions of involuntary labor, legal systems continue to extract their value as trafficking ‘victims’ and, often, as ‘criminals.’ Over time, a host of racialized and gendered criminal and immigration laws have exacerbated trafficked workers’ ‘status coercion’ by making certain marginalized groups both vulnerable to trafficking and more likely to be cast as ‘criminals.’ . . . The interaction between anti-trafficking laws and policies, on one hand, and criminal and immigration laws, on the other, continues to disenfranchise workers marginalized by race, gender, and immigration status.” (“Status Coercion in the Context of Human Trafficking and Forced Labor,” Jul. 28).