Friday, August 05, 2011
Breaking: Thai workers to speak out today at press conference
The Aloun Farms human trafficking case was cut short by prosecutorial error. Neither the jury nor the public got to hear testimony from the workers themselves.
Today some of the workers will have a chance to tell their stories.
Reproduced with permission. See original story at the Hawaii Reporter website.
After U.S. Justice Department Drops Its Forced Labor Case Against Aloun Farms Owners, Thai Workers to Speak Out
The U.S. Justice Department dropped its case against Aloun Farm owners Mike and Alec Sou in the second week of trial. Prosectors would not say why other than it is related to new evidence uncovered Friday.
The brothers, who were charged in 2009 with 14 counts of visa fraud and forced labor, originally pled guilty to one count each, but withdrew their plea.
But Thai workers they imported are outraged with the Justice department decision. The workers paid up to $20,000 each to come to America on the promise of working here for three years.
Instead they said they were released in 5 months, underpaid and forced to live in storage containers. They were told to borrow the money in Thailand to come here and now are losing their homes and rice fields used as collateral.
The Thai workers did not get to testify before the jury, so today, for the first time, they will tell their stories to the press. The press conference is at 2:30 p.m. today.