Beware of Human Traffickers Masquerading as Manpower Agencies
“The largest human trafficking case ever charged in US history” involves Beverly Hills-based Global Horizons Manpower agency, 400 Thai nationals and Hawaii farms.
On their website, Global Horizons touts itself as providing an “improved labor-recruiting, labor-providing business model to meet the temporary and permanent needs of employers worldwide.” They say 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 their job.”
However, six employees of Global Horizons have just been charged with exploiting hundreds of people from rural Thailand with promises of jobs in the US—and enslaving them instead. The workers paid up to $21,000 to the manpower agency. But once they arrived in the US, their passports were taken away, they were unable to escape and they were forced to work under threats. The workers were enslaved on farms in Hawaii, and a few on the mainland.
According to Hawaii News Now, the FBI was alerted to the scheme when several trafficking victims blew the whistle by back in 2008, by contacting immigration lawyers.
This isn’t the first time Global Horizons Manpower has been accused of wrongdoings. In 2006, they were faced with a class action lawsuit by about 600 Yakima Valley farm workers who said the agency “illegally and intentionally displaced” them with temporary Thai guest workers.