Farms Charged With Human Trafficking
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued a California-based labor contractor, Global Horizons Inc., and farms in Washington and Hawaii, claiming they discriminated against more than 200 Thai workers in what the authorities called the largest human trafficking case in the nation’s agriculture industry. Global Horizons confiscated the workers’ passports and threatened to deport them if they complained about conditions, commission officials said. Named in the suit were the Captain Cook Coffee Company, Del Monte Fresh Produce, the Kauai Coffee Company, Kelena Farms Inc., MacFarms of Hawaii and the Maui Pineapple Company, all in Hawaii, and Valley Fruit Orchards and Green Acre Farms of Washington. The commission also filed a lawsuit in Mississippi against the marine services company Signal International claiming that 500 Indian workers faced discrimination and substandard living conditions in Mississippi and Texas.