Thirty Thai men who were “tricked into a life of forced labor” after being promised lucrative jobs in the United States are just one symptom of the problem of modern-day slavery, CNN reported Monday.
According to the State Department, there are as many as 200,000 forced laborers in the US, with some 17,500 arriving every year.
“This is a hidden crime,” Louis C. de Baca, the State Department’s ambassador for human trafficking, told CNN. “The very nature of this crime masks it from us.”
CNN reported on the case of 30 Thai men, who were promised jobs picking tobacco on North Carolina by a company called Million Express Manpower. The company required the men to pay the equivalent of $11,000 for the necessary visa and transportation.
But when they arrived in the US, they discovered there were no jobs waiting, and their passports were seized. The men “realized they were trapped,” reports CNN’s Sean Callebs.
The men say they were taken to New Orleans, where they were forced to gut a condemned hotel without pay, while living on the premises. They say they had to cook pigeons for food.
“Some of the men were so stressed out they seemed suicidal,” one of the men told CNN.
The men eventually won a lawsuit against the company, which did not respond to the allegations against it.
The case of the 30 Thai men is somewhat unusual, as human trafficking often focuses on women and children. The Guardian recently reported on the problem of women and teenage girls being trafficked to the United States for sex and servitude:
In one recent incident a 16-year-old Mexican girl was found to have been trafficked across the US border. Doctors noticed the heavily pregnant girl showed clear signs of physical abuse when she was brought into a hospital in Dayton to give birth. The police were called but the couple who had brought her had already fled. When the girl’s story emerged, it became clear she had been kept against her will in the nearby city of Springfield and used for labour and sex. “I thought slavery ended a few centuries ago. But here it is alive and well,” said Springfield’s sheriff, Gene Kelly.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently launched a 14-city pilot project, “Hidden in Plain Sight,” to combat human trafficking. The project involves setting up billboards across the city with an 800 number that victims of human trafficking can call to get help.
This video is from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast Nov. 30, 2009.
Postponed Tokyo Olympics to open July 23 next year
The Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 23 next year, organisers said on Monday, after the coronavirus forced the historic decision to postpone the Games until 2021.
"The Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021. The Paralympics will be held from August 24 to September 5," Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori told reporters at a hastily arranged news conference.
Only hours earlier, Mori had said he expected a decision from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the course of the week.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were due to open on July 24 this year and run for 16 days, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the first peace-time postponement of the Games.
‘She’s a sick puppy’: Trump goes off the rails attacking Pelosi in Fox News coronavirus update
President Donald Trump railed at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a phone interview with Fox News.
The president called in to "Fox & Friends," which he regularly watches and promotes on his Twitter feed, and complained that Pelosi had criticized his response to the coronavirus crisis.
"She’s a sick puppy, in my opinion," Trump told the hosts. "She has a lot of problems."
Trump pushed the emerging Republican attack that claims Democrats were too distracted by impeachment to respond to the COVID-19 threat in its early stages.
Don’t believe the polls — Trump is killing his re-election chances with his pandemic floundering: columnist
According to longtime political observer David Leonhardt, Donald Trump's chances of being re-elected are diminishing every day as the economy continues to crash and Americans are dying because of the COVID-19 pandemic despite "snapshot polls" saying voters are still supportive of him.
Writing for the New York Times, the columnist notes that the full horrors of what is now occurring won't fully be revealed for months to come -- and for Trump, the resulting damage may be too much to overcome in November when voters head to the polls.