August 18, 2016

Cambodian villagers have filed a lawsuit against four companies that supply American supermarkets, claiming they were trafficked to work under slavery-like conditions in a Thai seafood factory that exports to the US.

The civil lawsuit, filed in June in a California federal court, accuses the US and Thai firms of knowingly profiting from the villagers’ working conditions and violating the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, a US law aimed at preventing human trafficking. Last week, the firms filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on jurisdictional grounds.

The seven villagers claim they were recruited to work in Thai seafood factories that produce shrimp and seafood for export to the US. Promised good wages, many of the villagers – none of whom had previously left Cambodia – took out loans to finance the huge travel and recruitment fees. In some cases they even remortgaged their farms to obtain the jobs, the complaint states.

Cohen Milstein represents the plaintiffs in this litigation.  The full article can be read here