Rachel Mabe published a longform piece on Oxford American, called “Trafficking in Teachers“. In this piece, she tells the story of Filipino teachers trafficked into the United States as a way to fill the crisis in staffing of teachers all across the US. In this piece she notes that the import of labor, specifically in teachers, has been ever increasing and ever invisible to the mainstream American media.
Mabe looks at the predatory recruitment agencies, and its transnational network between the US and the Philippines, governmental departments in both countries acknowledge that J-1 visas, immigration streams and “task forces” are set up to deal with the current problem. These institutional programs acknowledge that there is prior coordination between governments to facilitate the import of Filipino teachers and, also, the vulnerability of those teachers when they come to the US.
More importantly, this piece lifts up the stories and resilience of Filipino teacher, like Mairi and Aurora, who are in new destination ports like New Mexico and Garland, Texas. The story follows the lives of trafficked teachers and the ways in which they set up their own communities of care and networks of resilience to face the arduous road ahead of fighting to get legal status or justice from their predatory recruiters.
It’s an important article and it echoes the new J-1 Network set up by Migrante USA that seeks to bring together trafficked Filipino workers in the US. It’s imperative that we support these migrant workers and their plight for justice.