A story of modern slavery in Utah

Thais tricked, trapped and imported here to be slaves

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  • angmariea
    Aug. 17, 2010 1:39 p.m.

    @ What Now
    I was curious about your comment on Garden City Kansas, have there been issues there as well?

  • Patrick Henry
    Aug. 16, 2010 7:42 p.m.

    The corrupt corporation should be punished to the utmost ability allowed by law.

  • DougB
    Aug. 16, 2010 7:15 p.m.

    People need to read this article more carefully. These Thais were brought here legally with all the complicated paperwork required by our current immigration laws. They were brought in 2004 before the company got a hand slap limiting their human chattel importation for a limited time.

    More stringent enforcement of our draconian immigration quotas would have done *nothing* to protect these people. Indeed it could only have made things worse as it was actually the xenophobia and racism that the hiring company was exploiting - not the immigration quotas which it was carefully complying with.

  • Cameron
    Aug. 16, 2010 3:33 p.m.

    @ego | 4:42 p.m.

    It sounds to me that the tragedy was CAUSED by immigration regulation, and not the other way around. The workers were beholden to this evil company because the company knew how to navigate the complicated cesspool that is our immigration system.

    It's a problem of overregulation.

  • profpatt
    Aug. 16, 2010 1:11 p.m.

    Anyone living in poverty would have been enticed by an offer of a high-paying job in the United States, making in one month what you would work for a year to make in Thailand. It would be best, of course, if these workers could have been protected before they left Thailand and placed themselves in the hands of their traffickers, rather than rescued after they had been victimized. I wonder how this could have been done. Any suggestions? - Prof Patt

  • Sarah B
    Aug. 16, 2010 11:06 a.m.

    I was initially reluctant to read the entire article because of its length. If I hadn't, I would have thought Circle Four and Delta Eggs were the bad guys. They should have clarified much earlier that Global Horizons were the bad guys and that the other companies treated the workers decentlty.

  • raybies
    Aug. 16, 2010 7:02 a.m.

    It appears to me that Global Horizon worked the system. The question we should ask is how we can avoid these sorts of human trafficking offenses from occurring in the future.

  • Just Truth
    Aug. 15, 2010 7:29 p.m.

    No need to point fingers beyond the culprit reported, Global Horizon. I don't doubt that there is more of this going on, but I also don't know of anyone who directly supports it Democrat, Republican or otherwise. If I did no of human trafficking I'd be right in the fray putting an end to it rather than waste my time making ineffectual political comments on a news article after the slavery was already exposed.

    I'm glad some of these Thai workers are taking the opportunity given to become legal U.S. workers permanently. As I read the article I wished I were an employer that could help them earn a living here in America in a deserving way. I'll be sure to support the Thai restaurants more when I go out to eat. I love Thai food!

  • county mom
    Aug. 15, 2010 7:11 p.m.

    This is a story with a happy ending. These men love it here. In any other country they would have been ignored or there would have been no help available. We have a great country with wonderful caring people who try to help others. It is sad it took so long. Call me a fool but I think people are mostly good.

  • Baccus0902
    Aug. 15, 2010 6:38 p.m.

    Re: The Truth :
    "The Devil made me do it"?
    This has everything to do with Capitalism.

  • Poqui
    Aug. 15, 2010 6:32 p.m.

    Don't politicize this issue. It is a tragedy that occurs every day, every where. I am glad that these men have found their freedom and that Utah is helping.

  • the truth
    Aug. 15, 2010 6:17 p.m.

    RE: ego | 4:42 p.m

    THis has NOTHING to do with captialism,

    NOTHING to do with political parties,

    but everything to with the do with evil behavior of bad men and women.

    any PROGRESSIVE or DEMOCRAT that tries to twist this any other way,

    is only deluding themselves,

    and INTENTIONALLY trying to deceive others.

    EVIL knows NO political or economic systems or boundaries or persuasions.

    thought some have built in deceptions, like marxism, socialism, communism,

    the easily lend themsevles to used by Evil,

    as noted by commentors that instantly turn to attacking political parties they disagree with, and free economic systems they have been decieved and taught to hate.

  • anti-liar
    Aug. 15, 2010 5:58 p.m.

    "When told that most Utahns likely would not believe that modern slavery could exist in their state, the Thais say they understand that -- but insist it happened here."

    Well of course it exists here. Considering the intensity with which some individuals and groups lobby against the new Arizona anti-illegal immigration law, it has been obvious for years that what these people really want, deep inside, is good-old slavery back in America (and, if possible, sweatshops, child labor, etc.).

    This is why Jesus said that it will be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.

    "We want to help, to be an asset, not a liability, to the community."

    The typical illegal-alien does NOT have this attitude. God bless this Thai immigrant for having it.

    Congratulations to these Thais for defeating these greedy businessmen. I am glad they are here and I wish them well in this country.

  • Euroskeptic
    Aug. 15, 2010 5:09 p.m.

    Don't worry Utah. It's safe to feel sorry for these Thai immigrants and their ordeal.

    They're not Mexican.

    If they were, many of you would have jumped to exclaim that they got what they had coming.

    All is well in Zion!

  • ego
    Aug. 15, 2010 4:42 p.m.

    here we have pure capitalism at work...many believe that the market should rule...that there are TO MANY REGULATIONS. The regulations are there for exactly this type of abuse that is fueled by greed.
    without regulations this type of behavior would be much more common....and there would be no recourse for these victims.

    Aug. 15, 2010 4:16 p.m.

    12:46; 2:44.

    Check out Garden City, Kansas.

    Where do the workers, come from, who work in the slaughter houses?


    No one believes in this sort of thing?

    Corporations know that if you can't move the jobs out of the US, you move the people in to the US to do the jobs.

    Kansas is one of the most "red" of "red" states in the United States.

  • JBrady
    Aug. 15, 2010 3:48 p.m.

    This is what happens when we stop enforcing a law. Pretty soon we stop enforcing another to cover up for it. Then another, and another and another.

    When we stopped enforcing the laws, and started giving amnesty, we could no longer justify checking to make sure people on work visas left when they should. Then we stopped checking on them and their employees altogether.

    I hope the people responsible enjoy the publicity.

  • Ernest T. Bass
    Aug. 15, 2010 3:47 p.m.

    Well somebody believes in it, we just read about their ordeal.

  • Cats
    Aug. 15, 2010 2:44 p.m.

    Not_scared and Ermest T. Bass: Will you guys come into the twenty-first century? Nobody, left or right, believes in this sort of thing. NOBODY! Do you think it actually helps your credibility to make remarks like that? Honestly? You're doing nothing but showing your own ignorance.

    These sad stories are exactly why we need tough border enforcement and immigration reform. I think almost everyone is conficted about this, but things have gotten so bad that just about everyone has had it.

    We need to get tough and we need to do it now.

  • Not_Scared
    Aug. 15, 2010 1:50 p.m.

    "All illegals should be deported!"

    We saw how great conservatives war on drugs as worked to end drug use too. What, you think you just snap your fingers and you magically get your way in life?

    There's these liars on Fox News. One tale they love to tell is Eisenhower deporting Mexicans. Do you know what is so funny? Fox News watcher can't seem to get it. They just came back because deportation solved nothing.

    My expectations from conservatives is at an all time low as it drops daily.

    We don't have open borders today. What do you conservatives think that border patrol agent was doing when he was nearly stoned to death?

    Bill Buckley we miss you. Once there was an intelligent conservative.

  • Adver
    Aug. 15, 2010 1:33 p.m.

    All illegals should be deported!

  • mykidsdad
    Aug. 15, 2010 1:12 p.m.

    trv, you took the words right out of my mouth. We need immigration reform not open borders.

  • trv
    Aug. 15, 2010 12:46 p.m.

    This situation is incredibly sad. Too sad, in fact, for people trying to make political and partisan points. In response to one point made already by a previous commented, let me simply remind everyone that the Republican Party is not historically the party of Slavery - that would be the other one.

  • tenx
    Aug. 15, 2010 12:40 p.m.

    All the more reason for an enforcable immigration law so people like this are not taken advantage of. This Israeli need some serious prison time.

  • Emophiliac
    Aug. 15, 2010 8:12 a.m.

    Like it or not, even with the H1B visa for engineers and scientists, people are tied to their company because the visa costs a lot of money, it takes a long time to convert that into a Green Card, and to move to another company requires finding someone with a spare H1B visa.

    The problem is, the alternative is to just go home. And apparently being in the US under such conditions is usually preferable to their home country. And that will be even more true with any program for unskilled foreign labor.

  • Esquire
    Aug. 15, 2010 7:59 a.m.

    Now this is what I like to see, good investigative journalism. We need more stories that expose the corruption around us. Good job, Lee. I knew you had it in you.

  • Watch Dog
    Aug. 15, 2010 7:15 a.m.

    What amazes me is the length that employers will go to get cheap labor.

    We, as a nation hold but the very few of these employers responsible for their actions. We, though our inaction, largely at a federal political level, allow this despicable behavior to go on.

    Yet, we keep electing the same people to office, knowing this stuff goes on, and we do little or nothing about changing the situation.

    Shame on them for treating the truly poor this way, but more shame should be on us for allowing it to continue.

  • badger52
    Aug. 15, 2010 7:04 a.m.

    I am grateful for Utah Legal Services and especially Alex McBean for all the hard work they have done in behalf of the men from Thailand. I know that Alex would take food from his own pantry and give it to the Thai workers to help them get by. This kind of thing really gives the United States a black eye and makes us look bad to the world. We need to be vigilant and make sure those around us are treated with respect and companies that hire foreign workers have a responsibility to make sure they are being treated fairly. Circle 4 should have know what was going on. They should have had some way to check on their workers. I hope they can find jobs and be able to send money home for their families. They deserve better than they have received from their experience here in the land of the free.

  • samhill
    Aug. 15, 2010 6:58 a.m.

    One of the principal reasons these stories exist is because of our ridiculously inefficient/corrupt immigration "service".

    I've had the unfortunate experience of trying to deal with what was then called the "Immigration and Naturalization Service" (INS) on behalf of a Japanese friend who tried for almost 20 years and spent thousands of dollars to legally work in the country without success. I tried for many of those years to help him deal with the mind-numbing bureaucratic inefficient, ineptitude and deliberate intractability of both the agency as a whole and too many of the people who find a niche there. Think, IRS squared.

    Had there been a fully functioning governmental agency, capable of not only ensuring the company enslaving these poor people wasn't entirely corrupt but periodically monitoring the people here on work visas, their suffering would either have not happened at all or been caught much sooner.

    This is still a government "of the people" and it is up to US to fix it.

  • SLars
    Aug. 15, 2010 6:43 a.m.

    Very nicely written article. It bares testimony to a government that does not enforce it's immigration laws, as a side consequence, the visa program is riddled with corruption.

  • BYU Student
    Aug. 15, 2010 2:43 a.m.

    Amazing what people will do for money. They lack anything that resembles a soul. I feel for these good Thai people. I worked a lot with the Hmong, who were refugees of the Vietnam war. They fled from Laos and were very helpful to America, and were stuck in Thai refugee camps, the foothills of Laos, or died crossing the Mekong river. We have at least 250,000 Hmong people in America now, and they generally live a much better lifestyle than they would over in Thailand or Laos. I've met some older gentlemen who would split an egg between three people - and that was a whole meal.

    This makes me want to get back to learning Thai so I could maybe help these folks about a bit. I can't believe anyone would be so soulless to do this to people who are just trying to make it by. It's evil. I hope this Orian guy spends the rest of his life in prison. Atrocious.