21, Dec, 2023

Labor Trafficking in Marijuana Production: a Hidden Epidemic in the Shadows of the Cannabis Industry

As part of her continued efforts to increase awareness of human trafficking, Marti MacGibbon recently contributed to the article ‘Labor trafficking in marijuana production: a hidden epidemic in the shadows of the cannabis industry’ published on the Frontiers website.


Labor trafficking in marijuana production remains a concealed epidemic within the expanding cannabis industry. This abstract brings attention to the systemic exploitation of vulnerable individuals engaged in cultivating, harvesting, and processing cannabis. It explores the factors contributing to labor trafficking, including demand for cheap labor, inadequate regulation, and the vulnerability of the workforce. By compiling published cases, both in peer-reviewed literature and the media, this perspective piece investigates the extent of health issues experienced by labor-trafficked victims. These include chronic pain from repetitive tasks, respiratory problems due to exposure to pesticides and other toxic substances, musculoskeletal injuries, malnutrition, and mental health disorders stemming from trauma and extreme stress. Additionally, this perspective article examines the factors contributing to poor health outcomes of labor-trafficked victims, including hazardous working conditions, lack of access to healthcare, and physical and psychological abuse. Addressing the health challenges faced by labor-trafficked victims in the cannabis industry requires multidimensional solutions: awareness among healthcare providers, comprehensive medical services, and mental health support. Furthermore, collaborative efforts among government agencies, healthcare providers, labor organizations, and the cannabis industry are essential in preventing trafficking and addressing the health disparities faced by labor-trafficked victims.

Read the full article here. 

Marti MacGibbon advocates for change and awareness of trafficking throughout the United States and the world.   She is available for expert testimony, training, speaking, and research-related activities around the topic of human trafficking.

In 2023, Marti MacGibbon began serving as President of Mentari Human Trafficking Survivor Empowerment Program, Inc.

Marti represented Mentari in her presentation at the United Nations Reach Every Victim conference in 2023. Learn more and hear her presentation here. 

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