Feds file human-trafficking suit against farm labor contractor
April 21st, 2011
12:12 PM ET

Feds file human-trafficking suit against farm labor contractor

LOS ANGELES, California - The federal government is calling a human-trafficking lawsuit against a California-based farm labor contractor and eight farms the largest case of alleged forced labor of farm workers in the United States.

The lawsuit, made public Tuesday in Los Angeles by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accused Global Horizons Manpower Inc., based in Beverly Hills, California, and eight farms in Hawaii and Washington state of luring more than 200 men from Thailand to work at farms where they were subjected to abuse.

The government alleges that between 2003 and 2007, Global Horizons promised hundreds of workers lucrative jobs in the United States, and then charged the workers exorbitant recruitment fees that they were expected to work to pay off. In some cases, according the lawsuit, the workers owed tens of thousands of dollars.

Telephone numbers listed for Global Horizons offices in Hawaii and California were not in service Wednesday. The company did not respond to a CNN e-mail request for comment.

The men were brought to the United States under a federal H2-A visa program, which places foreign workers on U.S. farms. But once the men arrived, the suit says, their passports were confiscated and they were not paid for their work. It also alleges that many of the workers were barred from leaving the farms and were forced to live in cramped, dirty conditions.

In many cases, the Thai workers were threatened with deportation if they complained about the conditions, the lawsuit said.

The government named six farms in Hawaii and two farms in Washington in the lawsuit, alleging the companies not only ignored abuses but participated in the "obvious mistreatment, intimidation, harassment, and unequal pay of the Thai workers."

"Upon arriving to the U.S., their passports were confiscated and they were threatened with deportation if they complained," Michael Farrell, an EEOC attorney said during a news conference in Honolulu announcing details of the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges the workers endured screaming, threats and physical assaults by their supervisors.

"In some cases bodyguards were stationed around the farms to ensure that none of the workers escaped," Farrell told CNN affiliate KHON.

Federal criminal charges were brought last year against Global Horizons' owner, Mordechai Orian, and others for the alleged trafficking of more than 400 Thai workers.

Tuesday marked the first time the federal government implicated farms in the case. None of the farms face criminal charges.

The farms in Hawaii include: Captain Cook Coffee Co., Del Monte Fresh Produce, Kauai Coffee Co., Kelena Farms, MacFarms of Hawaii and Maui Pineapple Farms. The farms in Washington state were identified as Green Acre Farms and Valley Fruit Orchards.

Telephone messages left by CNN seeking comment were not immediately returned by Del Monte, Kauai Coffee Co. and Mac Farms of Hawaii. There was no answer at Maui Pineapple Farms, and the owner of Captain Cook Coffee Co. declined to comment until he had read the lawsuit.

A telephone message left by CNN for the attorney representing the Washington farms was not immediately returned.

The federal lawsuit accuses Global Horizons and the farms of violating the Civil Rights Act. It is seeking back pay and monetary damages of between $50,000 and $300,000 for each worker. The EEOC said that the case could potentially involve hundreds of victims and witnesses.

The case was brought to the attention of the government by the Thai Community Development Center in Los Angeles after a number of farm workers reached out to the nonprofit agency for help.

Related: Your tomato's possible ties to slavery


soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. lauradet

    This is absolutely unacceptable. I am so glad that this issue was exposed and Global Horizons Manpower Inc. is being taken to court. Let's just hope justice prevails. I hope the workers get compensated and they can return to their country.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Reply
    • g

      You're assuming the company is guilty already. This is America. :)

      April 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Reply
      • Randall Norris

        If this is America, and they are a company, then by definition they are guilty of abuse. That is who we are!!!!

        April 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
      • Aaron

        Using the past behavior of American corporations as an indicator, there is about a 99% chance that are guilty.

        April 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Charlie

      big deal, Mexicans suffer worse, yet AZ passes laws that makes them criminals. Pitty for the Asians, deport the Mexicans. seems like a double standard to me. Why can't Mexicans come here legally under the same work visas as the Asians?

      April 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Reply
      • Harry

        They do, but unlike the Asian they dont return when their supposed to.

        April 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
      • Rick

        Because Mexicans dont want to wait and do things legally.

        April 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
      • T Diddy

        WOW, you are a complete idiot! they are nothing like each other. Please get an education and stop just believing everything liberals tell you. I wish I could deport you because you are of absolutely no use to anyone in this country.

        April 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
      • Frank

        There's also the fact that upwards of 20 million illegal Mexicans are in the U.S. Nowhere near that many illegal Asians are here since, unlike Mexicans, they can't go to the U.S. by land, they'd have to get real good boats or swim here.

        April 21, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
      • edvhou812

        Because farm workers are a dime a dozen. Engineers are a bit harder to come by and are more valued.

        April 21, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
      • Kario Kandila

        it's not double standard. many mexicans enter the US illegally so therefore they are criminals, no if or buts.

        April 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Michael

      This happened up till 2007.........4 years ago.................lawsuit revealed today...........................where are these workers now?

      April 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Reply
    • Harry

      This is all lies, I work with Global and have for 24 years. The men recruited were paid fairly and had pretty nice living conditions. A group from Mexico that looks for Human rights violations has taken this up and made a mass web of lies of the entire story.. Justice will prevail,.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Reply
      • Michael

        sounds plausible, but, I guess you will be testifying after making that post

        April 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
      • Michael

        why would these US companies/farms go to Thailand to recruit workers? There is no one here in the USA willing to do this work for a legal wage? That's the fishy part

        April 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
      • ANGEL

        Michael, you are absolutely right!! They were willing to import people from Thailand to work on these farms ( for so called legal wages, and suitable living conditions) but yet we have a whole country of people not working, and this company couldnt import people from other States!!! Something is definately fishy alright!!!!!

        April 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
      • waves

        i agree with Michael, it does seem strange that they would go to foreign countries to "hire" people if they pay decent wages.

        April 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
      • Dustin

        These workers are willing to do the jobs that Americans arent. Too many Americans feel entitled and would rather stay unemployed than work in a circumstance that envolves manual labor.

        April 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
      • stacy

        They bring them here under false pretenses. They don't know they are coming to work on a farm!!!! An employee of mine is from Thailand and says that they promise them lots of money, but aren't truthful about what they will be doing. They just know they are coming to America.

        April 21, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
      • Randall Norris

        Please post your address so they can come and arrest your sorry ass. I am sure they were as well treated as the Guatemalans in Postville, Iowa at Agriprocessors "kosher" slaughterhouse. The good Mr. Rubashkin got 65 years in the federal pen for that. Maybe they'll let you boys share a cell!

        April 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
      • Ror

        I disagree with Michael, and a good part of the comments. There was a farm, I forget their name, but a google search would find it. Basically, they put up dozens of billboards with signs like "Want an immigrant's job? 12 hours a day, $8 an hour, no benefits!" No one applied in over a year. No Americans, anyway. These signs were put up around the state. At my own office job, we have many, many openings, with average pay over $20 an hour. No one applies, and we are NOT an unknown company. Yes, there is an unemployment problem in the country. But there are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, unwilling to work these immigrant jobs, or any jobs.I've told many people "Hey, we have 7 openings, at $18 an hour..." and all I get in reply is "but unemployment pays $11 an hour to stay at home!" or "Sure, I'll apply, lemme finish Farmville first..."

        And yes, maybe I simply know some lazy, lazy people. But as I walk through the rows of empty chairs, and walk through the farms near my house, viewing the immigrant workers and NO native-born americans working there... I gotta say...the jobs are there. Its only immigrants who have the work ethic and the desperation to work some of these farm jobs, and its only hard workers who work here with me.

        April 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
      • drknow

        Why was it necessary to take their passports if they were being treated fairly?

        Michael, these migrant worker jobs pay less than $1 an hour for long hours in the hot sun. The only people you can get to do this work is people from 3rd world countries where that is better than what they can find at home.

        April 21, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
      • blahster

        Ror, 20+ an hour, i'll take that job, and everyone i know would be happy to take those jobs. all american born citizens.

        April 21, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
      • AZLlib

        Sounds like stockholm symdrome to me....

        April 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
      • pete

        harry, if you think this is all a lie, then why did the federal agency reported that the company was illegally recruited workers from thailand and confiscated their passports upon arrival in the u.s. soil. if you are so confident that the company is innocent of any wrong doing, then i dare you to go testify in court on the behalf of your beloved company!

        May 3, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • Ramiro

      It's just not that simple. Read the latest Trafficking in Humans Report dated 2010 and you'll find out that just sending these people home does them a complete disservice. A comprehensive re-integration plan is required to make sure that these people do not go home and get picked up by the same people or other people.

      April 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Reply
      • Michael

        can you copy and paste that section?....this is a huge report that I started to read...............these people were probably impoverished and did not pay their airfare anyway to get here....to send them back, what is the re-intergration part?.....this happened up till 2007.....................none of us know where they are now. It's still fishy

        April 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Michael

      Just arrest all the owners of these farms, shut the farms down, get our Pineapples and Coffee and Macadamia nuts from foreign companies..................the workers over there will be busy supplying our imports..............they will be happy.....we won't

      April 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Reply
      • ghost

        You have the best point so far!!!!

        March 9, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
    • LibertyBell

      The big question: FED Immigration employee/es has/have to be involved on this scheme.. That is issuing H2-A visas to Global Horizons..So where are the news of apprehending FED INS who most likely are getting a lot of money to facilitate these visas..It takes two to tango..

      April 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Reply
    • Spectre

      You're assuming that once they get their rightful pay, that they are going to remember (A) where THEIR country is and (B) to go back to it. Good luck with that. Seems to be that way with a lot of asian immigrants, once they get here they forget where THEIR country is and how to get back to it. Seems it is just easier all the way around to run away from your home country and mooch off another than to stay and fix the problems with where you came from.

      April 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Reply
    • carlos de leon ford

      Yes, i wish the government do something about my problem,i have two kids here in the states,she 17 he 16,i been here s 1989,some high school have a legal guardian,i did have my papers in order,i just got true paying my work permit,and the immigration service went to my house knock the door down.then they deported me, working on that country two persons got out of their car and started shooting at us two workers bleeding and draging got back over here,i still have the bullet in my foot.one immigration of,said that my papers were right he dint know wy this was happening.thakyou godbless america.

      April 21, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Reply
    • alfreda

      My husband brother-in-law and about 40 more h have been given visa that we and other family members have sent the money to Mexico to bring them to Florida to work. They are being mistreated threatened to have immigration to pick them up if they leave someone needs to help us to help these people this is not right

      April 8, 2014 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  2. Pete

    Lawsuits are good but what about the slave masters, seems like the group needs jail time?

    April 21, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Reply
    • pete

      the ones responsible must be brought to justice!

      May 3, 2011 at 1:41 am | Reply
  3. William Johnson

    How is this any different from $cientology, they too confiscate 'religious workers' passports upon their arrival, force them to work sometimes 80 hours per week with little or no pay, and have guards and razor wire fences to keep them in!

    April 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      At least the Scientologists can plead insanity.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Reply
    • cdf

      ya know this thing is going down already we r in dip .....

      April 21, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Reply
      • cdf

        I know at least 100 people that live by the unnploymt checks,this people dont like to work ,but better get ready to work cause soon ther will be no money left,the world know about the abuse of power besides,white people are not americans,they are british.

        April 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  4. pickycb

    Made in America....think about that next time you buy 'organic produce'.

    Hey, why don't they post what this group sells?

    April 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • Trisha

      This!

      If no jail time is involved in the suit, at least let us help run this company out of business.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Reply
    • Bill

      Think about it the next time you oppose AZ's ab1070. Enforcing border laws, stopping illegal immigration, will significantly reduce this kind of stuff.

      Even when people are not forced to work against their will, they do still suffer as illegals cannot report abuse without fear of deportation, so, they don't report it. Stopping illegal immigration is absolutely required to ensure fair and humane treatment for all US workers.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Reply
      • Trisha

        The article specifies that these men were NOT in the country illegally. "The men were brought to the United States under a federal H2-A visa program, which places foreign workers on U.S. farms. But once the men arrived, the suit says, their passports were confiscated and they were not paid for their work."

        April 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
      • Aubrie

        I couldn't agree with you more...

        April 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
      • pnp

        Those thai worker have legal documents H2-A visa

        April 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
      • jason

        Yes, Bill read the article. He is talking about the fact that even with these people being here legally that they were still scared of being deported. Think of all the illegal immigrants in the same position that have that thrown in their face daily. I am against illegal immigration since I have a number of friends from Europe, South America and Asia that are legal immigrants that came here with little or no money and still did it the legal way.

        April 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • andy

      "The farms in Hawaii include: Captain Cook Coffee Co., Del Monte Fresh Produce, Kauai Coffee Co., Kelena Farms, MacFarms of Hawaii and Maui Pineapple Farms. The farms in Washington state were identified as Green Acre Farms and Valley Fruit Orchards."

      That's what google is for people

      April 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Reply
      • pr

        everything that happen in russia will happen here,there will be no food left on the shelfs,thats what racist wants .

        April 21, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • ReadCarefully

      Obviously I do not have behind the writer insight to the story, I only know what you know from reading the article. I believe the way the article sounded TO ME that the farms were not facing criminal charges because the assumption is they had no involvment with the workers being promised "X" and charged payback fees, etc. They are probably (hopefully) using workers from this company without knowledge of what goes on (yes, i would think it's a hard secret to keep but very plausible to me).

      April 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Reply
      • sabs

        They didn't notice the armed guards and the sucky living conditions ON THE FARMS?

        April 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Thinks2010

      Why are you singling out organic produce?

      April 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Reply
      • Trisha

        Probably because people tend to equate "organic" with "flawless," and some (repeat: SOME, but still enough) organivores tend to be a bit condescending when others don't adopt similar dining policies. It's ironic.

        April 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  5. rep

    Crazy! What century is this again?? And what country? I agree Pete. If guilty, folks responsible should pay more than just money. They should lose their freedom for a while–in prison.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  6. Bob

    And we are surprized? This is where our cheap food comes from.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Reply
    • alexandra

      seriously, why are people so surprised? what do you think smithfield and most of the meat industry does?

      April 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Reply
    • Harry

      They were overpaid in my opinion, most were making 9$ a hour.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  7. HooFlungDung

    Excellent!...give them all their back pay!...as long as they use it to return to Thailand! Sounds like every other illegal immigrant who breaks the law then cries when things turn bad. Glad they caught the slave masters though, nothing good about what they did either!

    April 21, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Reply
    • AD

      What part of ' threatened to take thier passports' did you not understand? Illegal immigrants don't have passports. I agree that ilegal immigration is a problem for us, but not nearly as big of a problem as dumbasses who fly off at the mouth with no clue what they are talking about.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Reply
      • pnp

        You dont know what you are talking about. People are here for opportunities for better life. I hope someday you will experience what they experience so you would shut up...are your ancestors american indians? if not shut up again

        April 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Trisha

      If you reread the article, it specifies that the workers were NOT in the country illegally. "The men were brought to the United States under a federal H2-A visa program, which places foreign workers on U.S. farms. But once the men arrived, the suit says, their passports were confiscated and they were not paid for their work." Would you be angry if your employer didn't pay you?

      April 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • AMG

      They were not here illegally, they were here under a special work visa. All this so you can enjoy grapes for $2.99 lbs!

      April 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • Gary

      Ain't going to happen. They will be certified as victims of Human Trafficking and allowed to reamin in the U.S. This certification will also allow them and their families to receive public assistance in the U.S.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  8. Tim

    They make it sound like our government is against slave labor, and slaves for that matter. In reality our government supports slave labor and country's that practice it. If you dont believe me look at Jabal Ili, Saudi Arabia, China, ETC

    April 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Reply
    • HA25

      Yes, Tim – because it really is that simple...

      April 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  9. kanank

    Why can't they name the officers of this company? its outrageous that exploitation happens at such a scale in a developed country. Seems to me immigration agency is not doing its job. I guess the Republicans think this behavior is OK. Corporations don't pay any tax and now they can get away with slavery and trafficking and abuses. Wow, great Republicans and Democrats for siding with Businesses.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  10. Chris

    More human degradation, brought to you by the good folks down at Free Market Economics. ("Regulations? We don't need no stinking regulations!")

    April 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Reply
    • odgie

      Probably not as completely simple as that, but I gotta say I'm inclined to agree. The private sector is just as capable of taking advantage of people (case-in-point). Xenophobia and racism are still issues, no matter how much we want to ignore them.

      April 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  11. pickycb

    after looking this up....Global Horizons Manpower Inc is just a labor supplier. They don't own farms. Maybe they're also dirty, but the farms that allow this slave labor & conditions should be on the suit and this news story.

    Yet again, CNN = Commentary Not News

    April 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  12. Bob

    And they wonder why Americans "wont" do those jobs?

    April 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  13. tim

    This is why UNIONS are so important!!!!

    April 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  14. mnesbitt

    It will be interesting to see who owns Global Horizons Manpower Inc.? I will bet that most of them are politicians or movie actors.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  15. my2cents

    There is also the other side. All the needy families these men left behind to hopefully provide for them once they got here.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  16. Annexian

    The best way to turn this country around, lifestyle and national debt is to:

    1. Get RID of illegals, first by targeting (hopefully legally) their employers.
    2. END tax breaks and subsidies to companies that export jobs.

    We'll have negative unemployment. This will make wages skyrocket. More people with more money will by definition pay more taxes, versus few people with a LOT of money who both face less taxes and then cheat on even those.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Reply
    • George

      Hey Annexian, are you one of those hypocrit descendants of white invaders who came to north america and slaughtered millions of native americans, and now you're whining about "illegals" with absolutely zero moral standing?

      April 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Reply
      • Thinks2010

        If you look far enough back, pretty much everybody in the world has ancestors who did things that we would find inexcusable by todays standards. It is also obvious that future generations will find plenty to criticize about things that are done today. Those of us alive today are in no way responsible for the actions of our ancestors, and we should not be blamed for them. We cannot change the terrible things they did. We can only be responsible for what we do now and in the future. It is up to each of us to live our lives to the highest standards and to treat each other with respect and to help each other as we can.

        Slavery has always been a global issue. We can be thankful that attention is being drawn to it and that governments, NGOs, etc., are starting to take action to stop it. This lawsuit is a small but important step. As individuals, we need to demand more and stronger government action, and we need to do our own due diligence as consumers to ensure we are not purchasing goods or services from companies that use slave labor. Your attempts to blame people alive today for the actions of their ancestors accomplish nothing. Focus your energy on the people who are alive and participating in the immoral and criminal acts you were discussing today then you will be doing some good.

        April 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
      • Nilaja

        While you may say that there are many who have ancestries that can be questionable, no one country has a more deplorable history than these United States. A history comprised of slavery, servitude, racism, exploitation and degradation, runs uncontested through this countries history. The fault that lies with current generation is that they take no stand to correct the wrongs of yesterday, they just shrug it off as the past, so this history continues. If you don’t clean up the past how can you have a future. It’s not a blame game and shouldn’t be viewed as one. Instead, people should be saying how can we correct this so it doesn’t happen again. How can we correct this so the lingering atmosphere of justice never served doesn’t exist and that the generations going forward will look back on this time in history and say the same thing. It is very easy to be unaccountable.

        To be accountable to this injustice is to boycott all the companies listed. In the U.S. nothing ever matters or effects this corporations until you hurt their revenue. Don’t Buy!

        April 21, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
      • PR

        THINK 2012....2012...2012...2012..1012 MAYATIME

        April 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • pete

      i'd rather boycott these farms that tricks people from foreign country to work in the united states, falsely promising better pays and better benefits and then, once these people arrive in the u.s., their passports gets confiscated and throw them in the crammed room, infested with rats and cockroaches. and these farm owners should be brought to justice! thank you very much!

      May 3, 2011 at 1:48 am | Reply
  17. callitasisee

    i did some consluting work in the central valley of CA. i estimate not one of the "farmers" down in the dirt was a legal citizen of the U.S.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  18. Barry

    This report reminds me of the ill treatment and abuses of the Joad family in the 1930’s, in John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.

    I commend the federal government and the EEOC for confronting these reported inhumane and immoral actions of Global Horizons Manpower, Inc..

    Koeheleth was right: “There is nothing new under the sun”. (Ecclesiastes)

    If only people would “Do unto others, as they would have others do unto them”, as Jesus taught.
    (The Sermon on the Mount; The Gospel of Matthew)

    April 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • Ramrod

      That was re-written by the greedy: do unto others before they do it into you

      April 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  19. kurtis kirby

    Sad,sad,sad. Our society is blind to this, we just want cheap stuff.Are you aware that all the cheap junk we buy is made by slaves abroad.(China,Malaysia,Indonesia,etc.) Our whole lifestyle depends on slavelabor from abroad. Why wouldnt businesses practice that crap here?

    April 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  20. Really?

    Oh, come on, they were asking for it–look at the way they're dressed. Farm workers, sex trade workers, whatever. They're not really human beings. Merely cogs in the colossal wheels of commerce.

    The human race is doomed.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  21. Victoria

    This is happening right now in "modern" america. What a shame. Thai people are hard workers but taking advantage of it is completely stupid of these manipulators. Hope they get compensated for all their work and return their passports.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  22. CW

    Petty point: Wouldn't the 'largest case(s) of forced farm labor in the U.S.' be what happened early in our country's history- slavery?

    Just saying, it seems weird to read that as an unqualified statement without thinking about slavery.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  23. Ramrod

    The great United States was built by slave labor: Blacks, Chinese, Polish, Hungarian, Mexican, Thai, Philippine workers all working for slave wages, just to name a few.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  24. NODAT1

    What the point???? the owners of the contract company will claim ignorance about the illegals and hire a slew of lawyers or pay local elected leaders to get rid of the problem or bury it under redtape. Low level managers/field managers will take most of the blame with a small fine or some jail time. Most of the workers will be deported and greedy lawyers under the pre-tense of helping the wronged illegal workers will sue the land owner for damages

    April 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Reply
    • Trisha

      "The men were brought to the United States under a federal H2-A visa program, which places foreign workers on U.S. farms. But once the men arrived, the suit says, their passports were confiscated and they were not paid for their work."

      April 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Reply
    • Bigtoe

      Easy fix. Put an end to the H2-A visa program.
      It generates abuse. End it.

      April 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Reply
  25. bwn

    Whites are always exploiters. They never do any hard work, that is same everywhere. They wanted to exploit others.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Reply
    • LeBourreau

      Wow! What a rascist comment. Oh wait, it can't be rascist because it is against whites (BTW, we prefer Caucasian). And for the record, you are full of BS... That label fits none of the Caucasians I know or associate with.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Reply
      • Bigtoe

        Well, I prefer not using either words; white nor Caucasian. A better description is light beige, or off-white is also acceptable.

        April 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • drknow

      You are a racist bigot

      April 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Reply
    • Thinks2010

      If you believe that, you are not only racist, you are also ignorant and/or incredibly naive. Yes, there are evil white people who exploit others, but this is true of every race as well. If you don't believe that, you have not been paying attention. Not a month goes by when I read articles about slavery and other abuses being committed by people of other races and ethnicities. Open your eyes and your mind to this sad reality, and you may be able to do something about it and be a better person in the long run.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  26. LeBourreau

    Hey! These must be the jobs that the tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations created. Thanks GOP, I knew you'd never lie to me... /sarcasm

    April 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  27. Adam

    I say disband the company seel the land, and split up the profits to the workers, then jail time for those responsible.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  28. svann

    Good first step, but they should also be charged for the actual hiring of illegals.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Reply
    • drknow

      Read it again. These workers were here LEGALLY. H2 visas are given so we can get cheap farm labor from abroad. These jobs pay wages worse than what a 12 year old baby sitter can get and Americans (me included) really would never work that hard for such low wages.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Reply
  29. vishnu

    labor camps in the U.S... oh man.. the most outrageous thing here is that this went on FOR YEARS before it was brought to anybody's attention.. I would like to know what is being done so this doesn't happen again.. (it's probably happening elsewhere as we speak... what can the govt to PREVENT these labor camps from coming into existence at all instead of suing and prosecuting after the fact????)

    April 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Reply
  30. Jimmy Cracks Capricorns

    This is what you get when Fortune 500 companies only care about the bottom line and making sure they underpay labor. This anti-fair wage attitude is destroying the fabric of our economy and it's time Americans demanded better of, from, and for themselves.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Reply
    • Bigtoe

      So many people cried that TARP shouldn't be used to prevent a company from failing. Similarly, unfair labor practices shouldn't be used to keep a business alive. Let them pay fair wages. If they fail, they fail - good bye.

      April 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Reply
  31. Jimmy Cracks Capricorns

    After all – how did these people get into this country to begin with? TSA approval, State Department approval, no doubt...

    April 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  32. kitty

    bwn I think your comment is a bit stretched and stereo typed. I know plenty of hard working white americans black american asian americans. So on and so forth. It also makes you sound like a racist to say whites what to exploit others for hard labor. All races are guilty of the same crimes black, white, yellow, pink, or purple.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Reply
  33. Leo49

    See? This is how we are supposed to react; how we are manipulated into reacting. Blame America, blame those degenerate Southern Californians, blame American "corporations". But this is actually foreigners doing this to foreigners on American soil. As noted, the CEO of Global Horizons, Mordecai Orian is an Israeli.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Reply
  34. Wyvern

    To BWN – Unfortunately, no race is exempt from greed – I'm not giving the whites a free pass, what they did was WRONG, but many slaves were sold into slavery by their own people.

    I also agree that the farms benefitting from this horrid example of business should be on trial as well. Sanction them, put them out of business – reduce the demand and educate the public on what the real cost of goods is!

    April 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Reply
  35. Sasha

    This has been going on for so long. Don't forget about the Jack Abrahmoff scandal. Same thing was being done to legal visa workers in factories for US clothes companies. If anyone wants to see how it's all done watch the movie Casino Jack with Kevin Spacey starring, also, if you want the blow by blow true story watch the documentary on Jack Abrahmoff, also called Casino Jack...

    April 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Reply
    • Thinks2010

      Thanks for the recommendation.

      April 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  36. Mathew

    It seems the federal government gives more rights to Thailand citizens than native born Americans. Now they'll be able to sue with aid from the feds and get food stamps and free citizenship. Mystery Babylon U.S.A. Shall fall.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Reply
    • Sasha

      the government is suing these companies that hire a recruitment firm to bring these worker over legally!!! Then the headhunter charges the workers 7-10thousand US dollars for the trip to come here and work. So, they leave their country to pick your fruits and vegetables for about a dollar an hour, so they can never pay off the debt that they owe the headhunter that the US company has already paid to bring them here in the first place. They take their passports, so they are unable to leave the US. It's not special rights buddy, it's indentured slavery. Look it up if you don't know that means.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  37. MrMailman

    This has been going on since the foundation of The United States......why is there so much awe and "how could they do this to another human being".........why dont you people wake up and smell the crap the lingers on your upper lip.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  38. Justin

    In Harris county Houston, there is another case...Well goto this site : http://www.txattorneys.com/news-219.html

    April 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  39. Scott

    This kind of human trafficking happens all over the world. The US State Dept publishes a report that rates countries around the world on human trafficking. The fact that this kind of abuse is happening right here in the US and that it took so long for action to be taken is embarrasing. No wonder people look at the USA the way they do.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  40. Barry

    Was it not Cisero who said that what made Rome great was her justice?

    And didn’t the great French philosopher and sociologist, upon visiting America in the eighteenth century, conclude that what made America great was-not her factories nor her industries– but her morality, which the philosopher witnessed first-hand, as it was preached powerfully from the pulpits of the churches across America.

    Was not this what the philosopher reported to the French, after touring America in the eighteenth century?

    April 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Reply
  41. Tom

    You go look at Global Horizons, Inc website then check out their associations and you will understand why there is no criminal charges. Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, Assoiation for Corporate Growth, Association for strategic Planning, American Marketing Association, Assoiation for Corporate Growth (Los Angeles division). This is a joke, these are not just jobs that Americans won't do like picking fruit. Make up your own mind.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  42. maegen

    Hey, if we want cheap food and clothes, we should hold all under illegal immigrants under fire for our inexpensive food and goods productions! When they're dead or dying, we can turn them into Soylent Green wafers and enjoy those as a snack. Then we can all stop sniveling at the other little humans we have no real compassion for and go back working in our high-end offices making photocopies and emptying trash-bins.

    Cheap stuff, happiness, and rainbows for everybody that works for a wage. All's well, right?

    April 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  43. someoneelse

    A lawsuit and no one is facing criminal charges? Are society is doomed. There is no responsibility anymore. Someone should have been hung for BPs mess up, yet not a single thing...

    April 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  44. Bigtoe

    Assuming the companies are found to be guilty of these charges, I hope there is no leniency. In this country, this stuff simply cannot be tolerated. If they are guilty, I do hope there is lengthy prison time along wth all assets frozen to reimburse those who suffered.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  45. Sparky

    Read the name of the owner. Foreigners are allowed to come to this country and propogate the same attrocities committed in the societies from whence they came. Gives Americans a bad name.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Reply
    • jasmine

      Fun Fact. Americans enslave other Americans. We (including US diplomats) also frequently enslave foreign domestic workers who are looking for decent pay to send to their families. You've heard of mail order brides? We also intercept European students who come here for work exchanges- pick them up at the airport, take them to an apartment, rape and beat them, put them to work in strip clubs and on the streets and force them to pay $300-500 per day, until someone helps them escape... then we try to catch them or hurt their families.
      make sure your US pride is well founded before you get self righteous- Americans are not better than anyone, anywhere.

      May 1, 2011 at 1:50 am | Reply
  46. dpmol

    Boycott them! Boycott them now! Write to them & boycott them!
    Captain Cook Coffee Co.
    Del Monte Fresh Produce
    Kauai Coffee Co.,
    Kelena Farms
    MacFarms of Hawaii
    Maui Pineapple Farms

    April 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  47. barbara

    No criminal charges? You've got to be kidding! They should all be shut down big time. Everyone... make a list of all these farms and make sure you NEVER buy any of their products.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  48. Helena

    Seriously? That's the problem, we all get involved in the "illegal" immigrant rant and the color bias that we forget that human abuse is prevelent. Just look around at countries, including USA, Canada, South America, Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia with the child pornography "sex slaves" trafficing with the United States being the #1 buyer. Greed, Power is non political and non biased and it's coming to a town near you.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Reply
    • jojo

      I agree with you to a point, but America is not the #1 buyer, it's Mexico and Russia, mostly the sex trade. Human trafficking in the USA is done by a foreigner who is not a citizen and trafficking in and out, but you got these fat punchy old farts who run farms and construction sites that hire immigrants to work for little money and a roof over there head. That is modern day slavery. This can go on and on. There is so many different types of slavery in this world. America is not excluded, but we are not the #1 country doing it, but we are in it. Did you know that illegals are getting all the help in America? Get this, when a Mexican has a bunch of kids and get food stamps on a debit card, they can take out money and send it to Mexico to buy cheap farms off of American tax payers money. How's that for ya? We are paying for land in Mexico paid for by our government. You can buy an acre down there for little or nothing.

      I got off the point here, but like I said anyone doing any kind of trafficking or modern day slavery needs to have their balls chopped and fed to the pigs.

      May 1, 2011 at 7:42 am | Reply
  49. Mash

    Need to carry a notebook around with a list of companies never to buy from. What a sad time we live in even though it's the twenty first century already.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  50. QuietStormX

    I've heard about this company in California, I think on 60 Minutes. But this might be a big issue with these companies and farms?

    April 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  51. Thaifriend

    The LA Thai Community Development Center is paid by the government to find alledged mistreated Thai workers willing to commit perjury in exchange for a T-visa.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • braddeloyed

      and that paticular center like the filipino one in LA also shows your nationals how to lie on paperwork to get work visa's fiancee visa's and green cards based on lies and other loopholes that INS cannot go activily investigate on a daily bases...not to mention the "safe houses in Brea and Walnut and of couple spot closer to LA too.

      April 24, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Reply
  52. bighead73

    It had to be a black person on welfare that made that racist comment. probably because they are too lazy to get off thier butt to find a job. all races have scumbags

    April 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Reply
  53. oldnews

    Global Horizons was first investigated, fined, and debarred from the non-immigrant visa program in 2006 – by the US Department of Labor. The FBI followed suit four years later and filed criminal charges against the company. This is just the first suit that has been able to reach the farms to which Global provided workers.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  54. GoldenGirl

    The weirdest sentence in this article is: "In many cases, the Thai workers were threatened with deportation if they complained about the conditions, the lawsuit said." So being taken back home was worse than what they were experiencing. Very sad.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • jasmine

      yes. unfortunately they left their homes for a reason. many slaves come from high conflict zones, or regions which are extremely impoverished. sometimes a slave will be liberated, forced back to their home country, and be compelled to try for a good job overseas again because their circumstances are so desperate.

      May 1, 2011 at 1:43 am | Reply
  55. kim

    When will these crazy americans learn there lesson that its not right to hold people against there will not pay them and then mistreat them that slavery is not right that being here against your will on false pretense iis not great and no one wants to put up with that kind of treatment. All around the world people are fighting for freedom what mkes it any different for people here! Im glad they told on those companies I hope more people fight these type of injustice done by powerful companies that mistreat the workers there not helping anyoone just being greedy and using the poor I hope they are closed down and made to stop this immoral behavior!!! NO ONE WANTS TO BE A SLAVE PAY THE PEOPLE AND THEN YOU WILL HAVE GOOD EMPLOYEES NOT SLAVES. Someone should treat that horizon owners like slaves and see if they like it!

    April 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Reply
    • braddeloyed

      so your argument is that americans capture and bring in foriegn peoples as slaves to harvest our produce?

      April 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Reply
      • jasmine

        yes. i feel like you didnt read the article. for that matter read hillary clinton's trafficking in persons report- 2010. its the most comprehensive. and go to freetheslaves.net. so much information in their research section.

        May 1, 2011 at 1:29 am |
  56. Thomas

    What about the companies that know they are hiring these people? They should be slapped with huge fines.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  57. AZLlib

    Old game new day. With more and more states adopting Arizona's racist policies it is only driving this more under ground. When coming here in what they think is legal and then to find out they are turned into slaves they fear little recourse from a hateful local government. Somebody should but never will check the lettuce farms in Yuma or cotton fields accorss the state of AZ... Won't happen as the gov here doesn't care or wont be bothered just more Mexican's to them. Many legal or not are turning to Crime lords for protection. They can no longer turn to police whom they fear so they are turning to the Mafia for help... Now the Mafia in border states is growing with power in the Mexican neghborhoods becuase of Gov reactions to the workers (legal or not). Same thing that happend in NY City 100 years ago. If you attacked, your daughter rapped and you fear the police and the gov hates you whom do you turn to? The racist laws in AZ,TX and other places are only breeding more and more mafia... We are trading day labors in for gun totting thugs and hired police... Carzy just carzy. Human slavery is terrible, but our state actions are actually creating an environment for the this to grow.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  58. oregon reader

    Oregon has the immigrant Work program. They work in the starwberry fields etc. I know of at least 50 US CITIZENS who have tried getting these jobs and were told they only hire the mexican immigrants. People are willing to do these jobs but they wont hire them. Low wages are not the reason. They get their MOTEL rooms paid for the MONTHS that they are here and made a lot more money then the maids that were cleaning the motel rooms they trashed while here.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Reply
  59. J young

    Quit glorifying breeders too many people . Like anything rarity increases value. If your poor sorry no kids for you . Me? No kids . My actions are where my mouth is . Its
    Ll downhill from here otherwise

    April 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Reply
  60. J young

    Also I forty three married for seventeen years I cant stand all the cutesy spo lifers who love the unborn and babies but cannot tolerate these same lives that grow up to have to have opinions opposite theirs . Many welfare people they cant stand were once sweet lil babies of the poor

    April 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  61. pr

    muchos british americans no saben que por el trabajo del immigrante estados unidos todavia se encuentra en pie,no saben que deportando la gente ,del pais las naciones extranjeras ya no estan comprando los productos norte americanos ,acuerdense que las companias de carros ya esta abajo,la gente de aqui no sabe o no aguanta trabajar en esas temperaturas,muchos soldados blancos no sirven para nada ala ora de la ora no tienen oo para afrentar el enemigo cara a cara.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Reply
  62. pr

    la gente blanca se ba a dar cuenta lo que les estoy diciendo ,una gran parte de estados unidos se ba a undir pronto,recuerden lo que les digo soy una persona MAYA.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Reply
  63. pr

    YO QUIERO MUCHO A LOS ESTADOS PERO ESTA JENTE RASISTA NO BA A DEJAR QUE LOS ESTADOS SE COMPONGA,ABLAN MAL DE BARACK OBAMA QUE NO ASE NADA,ESTAN PENDEJOS PORQUE LOS BLANCOS SON LOS QUE DESTRUYERON LA NACION.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Reply
  64. PR

    i REMEMBER THAT THE UNITED NATIONS TOLL mR. BUSH NOT TO WAR AGAIST IRAQ BUT HE DINT LISTEN,THATS ABUSE OF THE UNITED STATES.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Reply
  65. Yuveth

    Slavery has been around forever. You would think that as society and people evolve that things so barbaric, such as slavery, would stop existing.. but it doesn't. I want to point the finger at money and rich vs poor but I think that is just the surface of the problem. I think the nefarious side of man-kind is to blame. These farmers, who do this to these people. I would bet they go to church every Sunday and pay their taxes and are good upstanding citizens. It must just be their god given right to treat another human being like a thing. An object at their disposal.

    Instead of getting better with these moral and ethical issues.. man-kind has taken a huge nose dive. Our right vs wrong scale's have all but been swept away with the new and improved gadgets.

    April 22, 2011 at 2:55 am | Reply
  66. Braddeployed

    true enough if Americans were willing to do the job that these mexicans and other people were doing it wouldn't be a big problem. Then agian I never seem to see farms setting up recruitment for farm work. Where I grew up (during the summer) they put signs near middle and high schools recruiting kids for 6 hour jobs picking and cultivating strawberries, corn, and oranges for 3.50 an hour. There were about 100-175 that would show up for 3 weeks. So its doable. Or hell make it something for convicts or Juvie hall punks. then there "pay" gets held until time served. If anything just make it illegal all together to bring in Migrant workers....DONE If americans are so hard up for work they'll grab the chance at that it takes no skill at all. they might not get the best pay....but obama care will take care of health issues :) and america starts using americans to work agian

    April 24, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Reply
    • jojo

      Do you hear yourself? Look Americans have some standards. I don't think the job has anything to do with if Americans were willing to work. Mexicans would eat crap if you paid them here in the USA because they are illegal and want to be here and this is why they would work for 3.50 hr. Do you think an American is going to shack up with a bunch of men in a trailer or a barn? This is how a Mexican lives and without shacking up with a bunch of other Mexicans he wouldn't be able to pay a bill with that pay. An American or most either own a house or rent a apartment which roughly cost 650 to 1200+ a month. Do you think that an American can pay that working 3.50 hr? Buddy use your head and think. It has nothing to do with Americans being lazy or not willing to work. Be realistic. A farm owner should have his ass in jail for paying cheap labor to Mexicans and hiding their butts in this country.

      April 25, 2011 at 7:16 am | Reply
    • jasmine

      you're misreading. they aren't paid 3.50 an hr- they aren't paid at all. and these aren't just mexicans, its anyone- American citizens included. and it's not just farms. its factories and sweatshops (some sweatshop labor is paid and workers can leave if they want, but much is bonded and workers are paid nothing and kept by violence and threats of violence), individual households who keep domestic workers, and strip clubs, and prostitution rings, mines, restaurants... By 'slavery' they don't mean 'underpaid exploited labor' they mean slavery. The average cost to buy a human around the globe is $90 USD. the range is from like $10 to $1000.
      this is a human rights violation for about 27 million people, not an unfortunate circumstance for a few socially marginalized non-citizens.

      May 1, 2011 at 1:38 am | Reply
  67. jojo

    Any one involved in any kind, shape or form of Human Trafficking needs their balls chopped off and fed to the pigs.

    April 25, 2011 at 12:16 am | Reply
  68. novek

    Some times people who have plenty money, and runs large organization,which requires a work force often dont like to pay the RIGHT AMOUNT OF MONEY to their worker .Hence the reason for 4 employing these people,they are not registered so in other words their no body.Employer pay no tax ,pay them what ever he want.At the end of the day , the employer saves his money.hence the saying ,"richer get richer an the poorer get poorer.

    May 7, 2011 at 1:04 am | Reply
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