In Largest U.S. Human Trafficking Case, 400 Thais Held In Slavery


The Justice Department calls it the largest human-trafficking case in U.S. history, says the Salt Lake Tribune. A key to breaking it came in Utah, where workers who had been tricked into modern slavery managed to tell officials about their plight in 2007 and help trigger investigations. “I was treated just like a slave” in Utah and at other farms around the nation, said Chang, a pseudonym he uses because he still fears possible retribution against his family in Thailand.

This month, the Justice Department announced indictments against six leaders of Los Angeles-based Global Horizons, which it says recruited about 400 Thais to work on U.S. farms but held them in virtual slavery. The company's chief, Mordechai Orian, surrendered to federal authorities in Hawaii, and his bail was set at $1 million. The Department of Homeland Security gave “T visas” to several dozen Thais who had worked for Global Horizons in Utah after they managed to report their situation. That recognizes them as victims of human trafficking and allows them to stay and seek permanent residency – as long as they cooperate with the investigations.

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