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Workers at L.A. recruiting company indicted in human-trafficking, forced-labor conspiracy

September 2, 2010 | 11:44 pm

Employees and the owner of a Los Angeles-based labor-recruiting company were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Honolulu for allegedly engaging in a human-trafficking conspiracy involving Thai immigrants who were forced to work on farms, the FBI said.

The indictment alleges that Global Horizons Manpower Inc., located in Westwood, was involved in a scheme to coerce the labor and services of about 400 Thai nationals brought to the United States from May 2004 through September 2005 to work on farms across the country under a federal agricultural guest-worker program, the FBI said in a news release.

Named in the indictment are Mordechai Orian, Pranee Tubchumpol, Shane Germann and Sam Wongsesanit, all of Global Horizons Manpower.

Thai labor recruiters Ratawan Chunharutai and Podjanee Sinchai were also charged with engaging in the conspiracy to commit forced labor, the FBI said.

Representatives of the company could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

The indictment alleges that the defendants enticed the Thai immigrants to come to the United States with false promises of lucrative jobs. The workers had their passports confiscated and were not paid the wages outlined in their contracts, the FBI said.

-- Robert J. Lopez