What a shameful story. DOJ announcement on the indictment of six individuals for engaging in a conspiracy to commit forced labor and document servitude. The charges arise from the defendants’ alleged scheme to coerce the labor and services of approximately 400 Thai nationals to work on U.S. farms.
The Justice Department announced that a federal grand jury in Honolulu
indicted Mordechai Orian, an Israeli national; Pranee Tubchumpol, Shane Germann and Sam
Wongsesanit of Global Horizons Manpower Inc., located in Los Angeles; and Thai labor
recruiters Ratawan Chunharutai and Podjanee Sinchai for engaging in a conspiracy to commit
forced labor and document servitude. The charges arise from the defendants’ alleged scheme tocoerce the labor and services of approximately 400 Thai nationals brought by the defendants to the United States from Thailand from May 2004 through September 2005 to work on farms
across the country under the U.S. federal agricultural guest worker program. Orian, Tubchumpol and Chunharutai are also charged with three substantive counts of compelling the
labor of three Thai guest workers.
If convicted, Orian and Tubchumpol each face maximum sentences of 7 0 years in prison,
Chunharutai faces a maximum sentence of 65 years in prison, Germann and Wongsesanit each face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and Sinchai, who was recently charged in Thailand with multiple counts of recruitment fraud, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison if convicted in the United States.
Instead of achieving the American dream, the workers arrived into an American nightmare. This company forced them to live groups of men in labor camps, charging each of them thousands of dollars and forbidding them from living off company grounds. Instead of permanent residency and green cards, the workers received temporary, ten-month H-2B guest worker visas, which allow no path to more permanent status. And since H-2B visas bind workers to a single employer, company answered workers’ complaints with threats of deportation. Such acts are in contrary to the spirit of the H2B visa and we call for harsh punishment for these individuals.