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article imageGuatemalan Workers Claim Forced Labor

By Bob Norman     Feb 9, 2007 in Business
Workers say their time at a Connecticut nursery amounted to human trafficking and slave labor.
Men and Women who took the northward flight from their homes in Guatamala thought they were going to be working planting trees in North Carolina. Instead they found themselves virtual slaves at a Granby Connecticut nursery that they say lured them to the U.S. on false pretenses, and mistreated once they got here.
"There was no escape," said Coto, a stocky man with curly hair who spent most of the day sitting for interviews in a cluttered office at Yale. "We never let our guard down. We never relaxed. We just worked hard but no matter how hard we worked, we were never able to please them."
Imperial Nurseries says it contracted for the workers through Pro Tree Forestry Services. Imperial claims it paid fair wages for the workers to Pro Tree but those wages were never passed along. Imperial fired Pro Tree after findings by the Department of Labor.
Their bosses confiscated their passports, paid them $3.75 an hour, then deducted rent and other expenses from their pay, he said, making it hard to scrape together enough money even for meals of rice and beans.
I was amazed to find this sort of thing going on here in my home state. This is the sort of outrage I imagine going on in poor third world countries,not one of the richest states in America. Students at Yale University are helping to represent the workers to get them what they deserve and get them home. I hope that helps them have at least a little bit better image of my state.
More about Guatemalan, Nursery, Workers, Slave
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