Slave Trade

Feds Arrest Six in Record Human-Trafficking Bust

The Justice Department accused six people Thursday of luring 400 laborers from Thailand to the United States—and then forcing them to work. The bust is spelled out in a federal indictment, which the FBI calls the largest human-trafficking case charged in U.S. history. The indictment accuses four employees of Global Horizons Manpower Inc., a recruiting company, and two others of convincing workers of promising careers, taking their passports, and failing to honor their contracts. Once in the U.S., the laborers worked in states including Hawaii, Colorado, Florida, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas. Initially, many were taken to farms in Washington and Hawaii, where conditions were especially awful, according to Chancee Martorell, executive director for the Thai Community Development Center in L.A. “In the old days, they used to keep slaves in their places with whips and chains,” said FBI Special Agent Tom Simon. “Today it’s done with economic threats and intimidation.”