Sunday, September 05, 2010
Human trafficker is large GOP donor and anti-immigration critic
by Larry Geller
The human trafficking indictments that put Hawaii in an unfavorable spotlight have taken another twist:
A business owner indicted for the human trafficking of 400 laborers from Thailand is a frequent donor to the Republican Party and recently waged war against other companies involved with hiring illegal immigrants. [Rawstory, Exclusive: Major human trafficker is huge GOP donor who fought illegal immigration, 9/5/2010]
The business owner is Mordechai Orian, President and CEO of Global Horizons Manpower Inc., a Los Angeles company that provided farm laborers for Hawaii and other locations.
Rawstory conducted a quick search for political contributions on Newsmeat. A more comprehensive search could yield more data. The quick search turned up repeated contributions to the National Republican Congressional Committee and to the Restore America PAC.
AP reporter Mark Niesse’s story on the FBI indictments focused nationwide attention on Hawaii’s farm labor conditions for a second time, coinciding with the ongoing Aloun Farms forced-labor case. From the AP story:
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.
The story even made Democracy Now headlines and achieved other worldwide coverage:
4 Accused of Coercing 400 Thai Workers into Forced Labor
A Hawaii grand jury has indicted four people on charges of forcing around 400 Thai nationals to work as farm laborers after luring them to the United States. Prosecutors say the defendants are employees of the Los Angeles-based labor contractor Global Horizons Manpower. The workers were allegedly promised lucrative jobs, only to have their passports seized and forced to pay thousands of dollars in so-called "recruitment" fees that were financed by their property and homes. [Democracy Now, 9/3/2010]
The importation of overseas labor at low wages is in sharp contrast with conservative race-based attacks on immigration. It would pay to consider why one is acceptable and the other is not. Replacing the American worker is big business even as domestic unemployment rates climb.
A snip from the Global Horizons website:
Global Horizons, Inc. thinks globally and acts locally with a post-9/11-worldview, one which understands that economies cannot continue to grow and prosper without an ample, qualified and legal workforce. Too, it understands the aspirations of countless workers who dream of having better jobs in better places, but who wish to return to their country of native origin when they've completed the job. This fulfills both the economic and security needs of the host country.
This company participates in “outsourcing 2.0” in which overseas workers are brought to the US to take jobs at low wages. Other examples of this practice include Microsoft, importing programmers from India who reportedly work at 1/3 the wages of the American workers they displace. While Global Horizons was caught importing slave labor, other companies will figure out how to do this legally, increasing corporate profits and CEO bonuses even as the domestic unemployment rate continues to soar.
Don’t expect any opposition from Congress or our President. The Global Horizons indictment ought to result in labor reforms, but with GOP support for its corporate donors taking priority, any reform is unlikely at present and will become impossible after the mid-term shift in power after the elections.
This headline is very misleading. This is a story about indictment of a human trafficker, Global Horizons/Mordechai Orian. It is not about the GOP accepting funds from this man or his company like the headline suggests. First of all the donations occurred from 2004-2006 and amounted to less than $20,000 (hardly "huge"). Secondly, try clicking on the links to the original story as reported by Sahil Kapur at The Raw Story. Once you are there, go to the 5th paragraph and click on the link "electronic records database". You will be directed to a campaign contributions search site called Newsmeat. If their records are correct, they will show that the contributions were all refused or returned on or before 8/9/2006.
I am not a reporter and I was able to track this down in 5 minutes. I think this guy Orian should be tried and prosecuted if found guilty. But to even make reference to the GOP in this story is just wrong.
I would like to see Mr. Geller spend some time investigating the recent news about Big Labor contributions that totaled over 60 million in 2008. It has been reported that many union workers were forced to donate to political contributions for candidates they did not support.
Dear anonymous, union contributions in total are very small in comparison to corporate, although there are some heavy hitters among unions. Union influence in this country is also decreasing, with fewer workers represented.
As to union workers being forced to donate to political candidates, a common refrain from the right, keep in mind that corporate shareholders have absolutely no say in whether or how their money goes to candidates or causes they don't want to support. I, as a GE stockholder, can't stop GE from using what should be my money for political influence. Mid-level corporate executives may be cooerced to making contributions to avoid limits. It's hard to know who is coerced, only that there is this pattern. In Hawaii, check out HMSA and its staff and related organizations, as an example.