Forced labor is prevalent in developing countries, but it’s also widespread in the USA. Farm workers across the country, for example, are lured here with promises of great jobs, good pay and a better life—and end up being forced to work, living in locked trailers or homes from which they’re not allowed to escape and threatened with punishment if they try, robbed of their wages and subjected to physical and/or verbal abuse.
An executive with the United Methodist Board of Church and Society once said at a forum on human trafficking: “Slavery doesn’t just happen over there. We are all connected to it. We all gain some privilege from this system of slavery. Every time I go to the supermarket, I am potentially fueling this boom of trafficking.”
Action needs to be taken today, to stop this horrible abuse of our people! In the USA the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is attempting to stand up against this form of Human Trafficking. But what happens in other countries, such as Thailand which, is adamantly against using outside labour, but does nothing to stop the abuse of it occurring frequently.
“Foreign workers should be treated as equals when working in the United States, not as second-class citizens,” said Olophius Perry, district director for the EEOC Los Angeles district office. This statement should apply to all countries when importing workers from abroad.
This is not the first legal action brought on behalf of the workers. Last year Mordechai Orian, the head of the labor firm that recruited the Thai farm workers, was arrested and charged in federal court with forced labor conspiracy.
In the case of those workers, the EEOC said in lawsuits filed on Tuesday in Hawaii and Washington state that Orian’s Beverly Hills-based Global Horizons Inc recruited the Thai laborers to work on six farms in Hawaii and two in Washington state between 2003 and 2007.
The workers earned about $8.50 to $9.50 an hour to harvest crops ranging from pineapples to coffee beans, but many of them were forced to pay recruitment fees of between $12,000 and $25,000, EEOC officials said.
Some of the workers had to take out high interest loans or mortgage their ancestral lands in Thailand, and they were charged for lodging and food, officials said. Even with these problems the Thais’ from the Northern part of Thailand are dooped into this type of work every day. They are promised jobs, and will do almost anything to work and earn a living as they can not make a living in their home country. Jobs just are not available, even though we are led to believe that Thailand’s economy is booming. This is just another distortion of the truth.
- Feds sues Calif. contractor, farms in Thai case (seattletimes.nwsource.com)