After a suit was dismissed in what federal officials call the largest human-trafficking case in U.S. history, the alleged victims say they remain bitter.
Using pseudonyms and speaking through interpreters, two men from Thailand claim they are among many Thais who were held in Utah in slavery by the labor-recruiting company Global Horizons, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday.
The U.S. Justice Department's human-trafficking case against the company was dismissed in federal court in Hawaii last week after missteps by prosecutors with an admission that "the government is unable to prove the elements of the charged offenses."
One of the men, referred to as "Tom," thought he helped break the case against Global Horizons and mistakenly believed his testimony would lead to prison terms for company officials, the newspaper said.
"There is no doubt in my mind that I was enslaved," Tom said. "The poor, no matter how loudly they speak, no one hears them. There is no question this means other companies will continue to do the same thing."
He said he and other workers mortgaged their farms in Thailand to obtain the $20,000 to $25,000 required for recruitment fees. When they got to Utah, he said, his travel documents were taken away, payments were late, housing was substandard and "People watched over us all the time like we were criminals. I felt like I was in jail."
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