Thursday, April 21, 2011

EEOC Sues for Human Trafficking

Gl_02 The EEOC has sued labor contractor Global Horizons, and several farms in Hawai'i and Washington State, for human trafficking.  Here are the details from the EEOC prss release issued today:

The EEOC’s Los Angeles district office filed suit in Hawaii (Civ. No. CV-11-00257-DAE-RLP) against Global Horizons, the labor broker, and six farms there; and a separate suit filed in Washington (Civ No. 2:11-cv-03045-EFS), against Global Horizons and two farms in that state, alleging that Global brought more than 200 Thai men into the country to work as farm workers on the promises of high-paying wages and temporary visas. Once in the country, the workers had their passports confiscated and were threatened with deportation if they complained.  They were employed on the eight farms named in the two lawsuits, where they received low wages - far less than promised, forced into vermin-ridden housing, denied the opportunity to leave the premises, and subjected to harassment, including physical assaults, by their  overseers.  Further, the workers had to pay large sums to Global as recruitment fees, putting them and their families back in Thailand severely in debt, making it impossible for them to leave, even had they been permitted to.

In a separate suit, the Birmingham, Ala., office of the EEOC filed suit in Mississippi charging that Signal International, a marine services company with facilities along the Gulf Coast, subjected at least 500 Indian welders and pipe-fitters at its Mississippi and Texas locations to segregated facilities and discriminatory terms and conditions of employment.  These workers, brought into the country by a separate entity not part of the lawsuit, were forced to live in Signal’s substandard, unsanitary accommodations, for which they were charged an inordinate amount, given unwholesome food, demeaned by being referred to by numbers instead of their names, and at least two of them were retaliated against for complaining about the substandard conditions and discrimination.

Here's the CNN report on the suits. The living and working conditions in Hawai'i and Washington State sound awful -- but also sound more like FLSA violations than Title VII violations.  Is this a case that would better have been brought by the Department of Labor?

Hat tip: Carol Furnish.

rb

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Comments

Human trafficking is on the rise and must be put to a stop. I hope you are able to win your case!

Posted by: sex trafficking | Apr 25, 2011 1:32:28 PM

We had a similar case here in Utah with a farm and Thai workers. It is unbelievable how many "legit" businesses will employ these kinds of methods!

Posted by: Joseph Ellis | Apr 27, 2011 8:48:19 AM

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