Usually a stop gap for college kids looking for the pin money before embarking on a cooperate career or an occupation for those retired and just looking to supplement their pensions, the life of a Human Shield can be fraught not only with danger but a lack of basic employment rights.
But not anymore.
A group of Human Shields, who work for an agency out of Sacramento have banded together to form the first Human Shield Union. Members will be able to negotiate fairer pay and conditions.
Simon Austell, 35, a career Human Shield told me "It's not a bad job. I usually get a gig every couple of weeks. Usually I arrive at the venue about 30 minutes before we are needed, grab a coffee and a bagel before we are positioned by the client. Most times we just sit around all day, lunch is provided and we do our job - protect the client from airstrikes, assassination attempts and such like. On the odd occasion someone pay pepper the location with bullets but, so far, touch wood, I haven't been hit."
The problem though is the pat. The average Human Shield will make between $8 and $12 an hour, depending on age, experience and girth. Many argue that girth and size should not be an issue.
"It should be a set amount and we have negotiated $11.75 per hour for all!" said a pleased Tony Scott, a medical student who is filling in time before he starts work at a local hospital.