More human trafficking lawsuits filed against Signal International at the Southern Poverty Law Center website
The Southern Poverty Law Center announced that five more lawsuits have been filed this week against Signal International LLC, accusing the shipbuilder and its network of recruiters and labor brokers of trafficking 500 Indian guest workers to the United States and forcing them to work under barbaric conditions.
The new lawsuits filed on behalf of 60 workers are part of an unprecedented effort by some of the nation’s most prestigious law firms to prosecute, on a pro bono basis, multiple human trafficking lawsuits against Signal. In addition to the lawsuits filed today, three law firms filed lawsuits on behalf of 83 guest workers in May…
… The lawsuits allege that Signal and its agents defrauded guest workers out of millions of dollars in exorbitant “recruitment fees” and falsely promised help in applying for and obtaining permanent U.S. residence. The guest workers sold family property and heirlooms, and incurred crippling debt, to each pay as much as $25,000 to Signal.
Once these workers were lured to Signal’s shipyards in Pascagoula, Miss., and Orange, Texas, they were forced to live in overcrowded, unsanitary and racially segregated labor camps. The living conditions not only endangered the guest workers’ health and psychological well-being, these workers were assigned the most dangerous and difficult jobs due to their race, ethnicity, religion and national origin. They also were threatened with financial ruin and deportation if they balked.