Integrity Legal

3rd September 2010

Those who read this blog on a regular basis may have noticed that the administration routinely posts information about efforts by various law enforcement authorities to discourage human trafficking. Unfortunately, as the world becomes increasingly integrated due to globalization the instances of human trafficking seem to be rising. This apparent increase could be due to the fact that there are more media outlets covering this issue, but this author believes in giving credit where credit is due and many of those apprehended by American authorities were caught thanks to the diligent efforts of American and international law enforcement agencies and organizations.

To quote a recent story from the Associated Press that this author found distributed on the internet by Google:

HONOLULU — Six recruiters were accused Thursday of luring 400 laborers from Thailand to the United States and forcing them to work, according to a federal indictment that the FBI called the largest human-trafficking case ever charged in U.S. history.

The indictment alleges that the scheme was orchestrated by four employees of labor recruiting company Global Horizons Manpower Inc. and two Thailand-based recruiters. It said the recruiters lured the workers with false promises of lucrative jobs, then confiscated their passports, failed to honor their employment contracts and threatened to deport them.

Once the Thai laborers arrived in the United States starting in May 2004, they were put to work and have since been sent to sites in states including Hawaii, Washington, California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah, according to attorneys and advocates.

Many laborers were initially taken to farms in Hawaii and Washington, where work conditions were the worst, said Chancee Martorell, executive director for the Los Angeles-based Thai Community Development Center, which represents 263 Thai workers who were brought to the U.S. by Global Horizons.

A woman who answered the phone at Global Horizons’ Los Angeles office refused to take a message seeking comment Thursday.

The six defendants include Global Horizons President and CEO Mordechai Orian, 45; Director of International Relations Pranee Tubchumpol, 44; Hawaii regional supervisor Shane Germann, 41; and onsite field supervisor Sam Wongsesanit, 39. The Thailand recruiters were identified as Ratawan Chunharutai and Podjanee Sinchai.

They face maximum sentences ranging from five years to 70 years in prison, according to the Department of Justice.

The penalties imposed upon those who engage in human trafficking activities can be severe. This is likely due to the fact that this activity often leads to many negative results as noted in the story above. Many of those who are smuggled from one country to another are forced to work under inhumane conditions that are considered to be illegal in many jurisdictions.

This author is pleased to see public resources being expended upon truly worthy law enforcement programs such as this. Thwarting the activities of human traffickers should definitely be a top priority for international law enforcement agents. Hopefully, arrests such as those noted above will discourage and deter individuals in the future as such activity has an extremely detrimental impact upon society as a whole.

It should also be noted that human trafficking is considered by US Immigration authorities to be a legal grounds of inadmissibility. Therefore a finding by a Consular Officer that an individual previously engaged in human trafficking may lead to visa denial in a pending immigration petition or application. Furthermore, this ground of inadmissibility is unlikely to be remedied through use of an I-601 waiver.

For related information please see: US Visa Thailand.


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