US & World

Human-trafficking suit filed against Beverly Hills labor contractor that hired hundreds of Thai workers

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced today that it has filed a human trafficking lawsuit against a Beverly-Hills based farm labor contractor. The federal agency says the company discriminated against hundreds of Thai workers.

The EEOC says the lawsuit against Global Horizons and eight farms in Hawaii and Washington is its largest agricultural human trafficking case. The federal agency says between 2003 and 2007, Global Horizons lured over 200 Thai men into working at farms in those states by promising to give them steady, high paying jobs. The employer also promised temporary visas allowing the men to legally work in the U.S.

Attorneys say when the men showed up for work, Global confiscated their passports. The suit asserts the plaintiffs endured severe abuse, race discrimination, harassment, filthy living conditions and retaliation if they complained.

The EEOC maintains getting past the language barrier with workers was a challenge and that’s why it took several years to file the lawsuit. The agency is seeking an undisclosed amount in back pay and compensatory and punitive damages.