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National Global & Signal Press Release - 4-20-11

National Global & Signal Press Release - 4-20-11

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Published by Craig Gima

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Published by: Craig Gima on Apr 20, 2011
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04/20/2011

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 -more-FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Justine LisserApril 20, 2011 Christine NazerTel. (202) 663-4773TTY: (202) 663-4912
EEOC COMBATS LABOR TRAFFICKING, SEVERE ABUSEAND DISCRIMINATION IN LAWSUITS FILED TODAY
Thai Farm Workers Trafficked to Hawaii and Washington, Indian Welders to Mississippi and Texas, Subjected to Intolerable Conditions, Commission Alleges
 
WASHINGTON—A labor broker in California, farms in Hawaii and Washington, and a marineservices company in Mississippi and Texas subjected foreign workers to severe abuse anddiscrimination after they were trafficked into this country, the U.S. Equal Employment OpportunityCommission alleged in three lawsuits filed today. These lawsuits follow aCommission meeting, heldJan. 19, 2011, on the issue of human trafficking and forced labor.“The mistreatment of workers alleged in these cases is intolerable in our legal system,” saidJacqueline A. Berrien, Chair of the EEOC. “These lawsuits highlight the critically important role thatthe EEOC must play in protecting the rights of victims of labor trafficking.”The EEOC’s Los Angeles district office filed suit in Hawaii (Civ. No. CV-11-00257-DAE-RLP) againstGlobal Horizons, the labor broker, and six farms there; and a separate suit filed inWashington (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 thepromises of high-paying wages and temporary visas. Once in the country, the workers had theirpassports confiscated and were threatened with deportation if they complained. They were employedon 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 toharassment, including physical assaults, by their overseers. Further, the workers had to pay largesums 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 chargingthatSignal International, a marine services company with facilities along the Gulf Coast, subjected atleast 500 Indian welders and pipe-fitters at its Mississippi and Texas locations to segregated facilitiesand discriminatory terms and conditions of employment. These workers, brought into the country by aseparate entity not part of the lawsuit, were forced to live in Signal’s substandard, unsanitary

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