Category Archives: human trafficking
The scumbags that bring over van loads of illegals is one thing…but when American companies and/or corporations do it…the feds better hang those bastards from the highest tree. From a NYT editorial:
A conspiracy indictment was brought last week against a Los Angeles company, alleging forced labor on a chilling scale. Six contractors are accused of a scheme to hold 400 workers from Thailand in virtual slavery on farms in Hawaii and Washington State. The Justice Department says it is the largest human-trafficking case ever brought by the federal government. Just as disturbing is how familiar the accusations are.
The company, Global Horizons Manpower, is accused of abusing the federal guest worker program, known as H-2A, in 2004 and 2005 and luring workers with false promises of steady work at decent pay. The workers, poor men from the Thai countryside, took on crushing debt to pay exorbitant recruiting fees, about $9,500 to $21,000. After they arrived in America, according to the indictment, their passports were taken and they were set up in shoddy housing and told that if they complained or fled they would be fired, arrested or deported.
The case, brought in Honolulu, coincides with the sentencing on Thursday of two Hawaii farmers, Mike and Alec Sou, who pleaded guilty in January to a forced-labor scheme involving 44 Thai workers. The Sous worked with Global Horizons before but are linked to the latest case only by the methods they admitted to using.
How do you think the nutters on the right will view this fuckery? They are the ones always bitching and moaning about undocumented workers or the guest worker program…and frankly…this horseshit really makes me want to go postal on someone’s ass. If I hear the words free market attached to this story or used to justify this crime, I will take a baseball bat to the individual’s head.
Farmworkers have been abused in this fashion for decades and decades m’dear reader. Again from the editorial:
American history is full of examples of large-scale abuses of farmworkers, from the Bracero program for Mexicans in the 1940s to the present day. The Bush administration, which was in charge of the H-2A program at the time Global Horizons is accused of doing its worst, generally turned a blind eye to wage-and-hour enforcement. In its waning days, it issued new rules that gutted worker pay and labor protections in the program.
I live in the San Joaquin valley, and I know of this bullshit and how long it has been going on. We, as American’s, eat our cheap produce without giving a fucking thought to the human that stood out in the sun for 8 -10 hours to harvest it. The pay scale is dehumanizing and its disgusting…they make pennies while the farmer gets rich off their back breaking work.
In the abuse of legal foreign workers, the numbers vary but the methods are the same. It is slavery without shackles. Its perpetrators seldom have to resort to violence or even threats of violence. Since workers are buried in debt before they even leave their home countries, the threat of being fired and deported is enough.
To lose a guest-worker job means irreparable harm: destitution, unpayable debt, the loss of mortgaged family land. Under those conditions, a worker will accept any abuse, live and work in squalor and do what he is told. Everyone else — the middlemen; the companies that get “cheap, compliant labor,” in the words of the Global Horizons indictment; and the grocery buyers who eat cheap, fresh produce, subsidized by suffering — is satisfied.
Next time you eat a salad or a piece of fruit…think of the men, women and yes…children that harvested that food for you…and how they are being fucked by their employer and our government. These people have no rights..and that is criminal in and of itself.
Its a booming business, similar to the coyote’s that bring people over America’s southern border. McClatchy’s writeup and video point a finger at KBR for knowing and allowing this disgusting crap to take place. From the article:
About 1,000 Asian men who were hired by a Kuwaiti subcontractor to the U.S. military have been confined for as long as three months in windowless warehouses near the Baghdad airport without money or a place to work.
Najlaa International Catering Services, a subcontractor to KBR, an engineering, construction and services company, hired the men, who’re from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. On Tuesday, they staged a march outside their compound to protest their living conditions.
“It’s really dirty,” a Sri Lankan man told McClatchy, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he still wants to work for Najlaa. “For all of us, there are about 12 toilets and about 10 bathrooms. The food – it’s three half-liter (one pint) bottles of water a day. Bread, cheese and jam for breakfast. Lunch is a small piece of meat, potato and rice. Dinner is rice and dal, but it’s not dal,” he said, referring to the Indian lentil dish.
KBR is trying to say they didn’t know about it, but people on the ground there in Iraq are calling bullshit on that one:
The conditions in which the men have been held appear to violate guidelines the U.S. military handed down in 2006 that urged contractors to deter human trafficking to the war zone by shunning recruiters that charged excessive fees. The guidelines also defined “minimum acceptable” living spaces – 50 square feet per person – and required companies to fulfill the pledges they made to employees in contracts.
A U.S. military spokesman for the Multi-National Force-Iraq referred questions to KBR, a Texas-based former subsidiary of Halliburton. The spokesman said that the American military wasn’t aware of the warehouses until McClatchy and the Times of London began asking questions about it on Monday.
Some of the men who’ve been living in the warehouses said that KBR representatives visited the site two weeks ago. They said Najlaa held their passports until the KBR inspection, which Najlaa officials denied. Seizing passports is a violation of the U.S. military’s 2006 instructions to contractors.
KBR didn’t answer direct questions about the warehouses but issued a two-paragraph statement. “When KBR becomes aware of potential violations of international laws regarding trafficking in persons, we work, within our authority, to remediate the problem and report the matter to proper authorities. KBR then works with authorities to rectify the matter,” it said.
KBR’s history in Iraq makes their company press release suspect. They have poisoned American soldiers, electrocuted them and overcharged the living shit out of the Federal Government for services rendered, just to name a few of their heinous transgressions.