YAKIMA, Wash. -- One of the largest human trafficking cases in agriculture to date, includes two farms in Yakima County.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Global Horizons Inc., a Beverly Hills-based farm labor contractor, and eight farms.
The two farms in Yakima County named in the lawsuit are Green Acre Farms and Valley Fruit Orchards.
EEOC leaders say the labor contractor lured more than 200 Thai workers between 2003 and 2007 with promises of steady jobs on agricultural visas.
EEOC say the companies confiscated passports belonging to the Thai workers, and threatened to deport the workers if they complained.
The EEOC asserts that the farms not only ignored abuses, but also participated in the obvious mistreatment, intimidation, harassment, and unequal pay of the Thai workers.
"Human trafficking is one of the most insidious forms of discrimination," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District Office. "The EEOC is committed to holding employers accountable for benefiting from the modern day enslavement of workers from other countries."
Six farms in Hawaii are also included in the suit.
The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. For more information about the EEOC, visit their web site at http://www.eeoc.gov.