Saturday, September 4, 2010

4 Accused of Coercing 400 Thai Workers into Forced Lab: Abuse of Farmers

4 Accused of Coercing 400 Thai Workers into Forced Labor

A Hawaii grand jury has indicted four people on charges of forcing around 400 Thai nationals to work as farm laborers after luring them to the United States. Prosecutors say the defendants are employees of the Los Angeles-based labor contractor Global Horizons Manpower. The workers were allegedly promised lucrative jobs, only to have their passports seized and forced to pay thousands of dollars in so-called "recruitment" fees that were financed by their property and homes.

LA Garment Factory to Pay Workers Unpaid Overtime, Allow Monitor

A Los Angeles garment company, meanwhile, has reached a settlement over allegations it subjected workers to sweatshop-like conditions. Around fifty minimum-wage workers accused Seventeen Incorporated of forcing them to work twelve-hour shifts, sometimes back to back, without breaks or overtime for six days a week. The workers also say they were exposed to harmful chemicals, a cockroach and rodent infestation, with no way of leaving the factory at nighttime in case of emergency. The factory has supplied clothes to well-known retailers including Forever 21 and Macy’s. Under the settlement, workers will receive compensation for unpaid overtime. And in what prosecutors call an unprecedented provision for a US-based factory, Seventeen agreed to allow an independent monitor observe the factory for a year.

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