Workers trafficked to the U.S. from India to work in shipyards after Hurricane Katrina were lured here with dishonest assurances of becoming lawful permanent U.S. residents.
February 1, 2011
The ACLU joined a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of over 500 guestworkers from India charging that the workers were trafficked into the U.S. through the federal government’s H-2B guestworker program with dishonest assurances of becoming lawful permanent U.S. residents and subjected to squalid living conditions, fraudulent payment practices, and threats of serious harm upon their arrival. The complaint alleges that recruiting agents hired by the marine industry company Signal International held the guestworkers’ passports and visas, coerced them into paying extraordinary fees for recruitment, immigration processing and travel, and threatened the workers with serious legal and physical harm if they did not work under the Signal-restricted guestworker visa. The complaint also alleges that once in the U.S., the men were required to live in Signal’s guarded, overcrowded labor camps, subjected to psychological abuse and defrauded out of adequate payment for their work.