Thursday, January 20, 2011

Country Club Slavery

South Florida Country Clubs Contracting in Slave Labor: Feds
A husband and wife are accused of forcing 39 Philippine immigrants into slavery


Updated 2:43 PM EST, Tue, Jan 11, 2011

Country clubs are often reserved for the rich and well off and have the best amenities money can buy.

But membership in several exclusive South Florida clubs came with a sinister perk that has the feds working overtime - slavery.

Federal agents claim Alfonso Baldonado Jr. and his wife, Sophia Manuel, are behind an elaborate scheme that forced 39 Filipino workers into slave labor at local country clubs.
The couple allegedly ran a company called Quality Staffing Services based in Boca Raton and sent the workers to posh clubs to work incredibly long hours with little pay.

"What people need to realize that it is happening here in Miami and at an alarming rate," Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent Carmen Pino said. "It's a big problem here and there is human trafficking. This is slave labor and even sex trafficking."

The feds singled out the pricey Indian Creek Country Club on Miami Beachand Miami Shores Country Club as frequent clients of the slave labor company.

Nine other golf courses in Broward and Palm Beach counties also contracted with Baldonado, but investigators have not said whether any of the clients knew of the illegal activity.

Read the full article here.

A couple in south Florida is accused of forcing nearly 40 Filipino workers to work in country clubs. The workers were forced to work in luxury country clubs for up to 16 hours with little pay. While some of the clubs might not have known that the workers were enslaved, one of the clubs appears to be a repeat offender.

While it seems recently that Florida has been in the news a lot with cases of forced labor and human trafficking, this does not necessarily mean that it is more rampant in the state. Florida has become more proactive in the fight against modern slavery and while its sad to see cases such as this come to light, learning about the trends and types of places where people are enslaved, is crucial. This case is further proof that slavery does not always happen in isolated, far away places, it can happen right in front of our eyes.

If you would like to report a case of potential slave labor/human trafficking please call either the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888 or ICE's hotline at 1-866-dhs-2ice.

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