The EEOC is alleging that the California based contractor recruited hundreds of Thai workers from 2003 to 2007 to work on several U.S. farms under false pretenses of a better life. Upon arrival in the U.S. the workers were physically abused by their recruiters, deprived of food and water and had accrued a debt by the traffickers which would have been impossible to pay off. With their passports confiscated and under constant watch by body guards, they had little hope of escape, until one worker made their way to a nonprofit agency and told their story.
Global Horizons has been recruiting workers from around the world since 1989. Their website states that they “…understand the aspirations of countless workers who dream of having better jobs in better places, but who wish to return to their country of native origin when they've completed the job.” While the words are inspirational, the actions of Global Horizons have turned these “aspirations” for hundreds into a living nightmare.
As of now, back wages are being sought for each of the workers.
While the media attention surrounding this case is rare, labor trafficking itself is a lucrative business for traffickers in the United States. Currently, there are an estimated 10,000 victims of labor trafficking in the U.S.