Published On: Fri, Sep 3rd, 2010

6 charged in human trafficking conspiracy

Six job recruiters have been indicted in federal court in what the FBI has called the largest human-trafficking operation ever to result in charges in the United States.

An indictment unsealed in Hawaii on Thursday accuses employees of a California-based company of luring about 400 people from Thailand with false promises of lucrative jobs. Many of the imported workers wound up laboring on farms under substandard conditions, had their passports confiscated, and were threatened with deportation.

In one instance, several Thai workers were allegedly detained at a pineapple farm on Maui and told to pay an additional fee of $3,750 to keep their jobs. Those who refused were sent back to Thailand with unpaid debts.

“The object of the conspiracy was to obtain cheap, compliant labor,” said the indictment, “indebted by the defendants’ recruitment fees, and to compel the workers’ labor and service through threats to have the workers arrested, deported, or sent back to Thailand.”


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