Photographing Human Trafficking in New York

They look no different than anyone else in the rat-race blur of New York’s streets. They hold the same jobs — maids, nannies, janitors — as thousands of others who get paid for their work, sometimes well, usually enough to get by.

by Evelyn Nieves, Photographs by Xyza Cruz Bacani

The service workers Xyza Bacani has trained her camera on are worse off than even day laborers. Lured or coerced into leaving their countries for jobs in New York, they become trapped, forced to work off their travel expenses and room and board, stripped of their documents, denied time off, isolated by language barriers, paid a pittance or nothing at all, even beaten.

They are effectively indentured servants. Yes, here and now, in the land of the free.


View the full Photo Essay in the New York Times