U.S.federal authorities are investigating a major human trafficking case involving at least 11 overseas Filipino workers who have fled harsh working conditions from their hotel jobs in the resort city Biloxi, Mississippi and sought shelter at the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles.
Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Labor have interviewed the victims and are also looking into possible misuse of H-2B visas by a syndicate suspected of raking in millions of dollars via the recruitment of seasonal non-agricultural workers into the United States in gross violation of U.S. laws.
“We can’t take it anymore because we were being treated like prisoners,” said Norman Paul Yaranon, one of the 11 displaced workers, in Tagalog. He and his colleagues are now temporarily housed at the Los Angeles home of a local church leader.
In my previous posts, I’ve mentioned that human trafficking cases occur not only in lesser developed nations, but in the US as well. During her meeting with visiting President Benigno Aquino III last month at the signing of a $434-miliion U.S. Millennium Challenge Corp. grant for the Philippines in New York, State Secretary Hillary Clinton described human trafficking as a form of “modern slavery” which usually involves the illicit movement of vulnerable people, especially women and children. In its second consecutive year, the Philippines was placed in 2010 under Tier 2 watch list. This is for countries that do not fully comply with the standards set forth by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of the United Nations. This topic is usually a hard read for many, but more people need to be aware of the injustices that occur in countries like Philippines.
Salamat, Jeff at 8asians