After U.S. Justice Department Drops Its Forced Labor Case Against Aloun Farms Owners, Thai Workers to Speak Out
The U.S. Justice Department dropped its case against Aloun Farm owners Mike and Alec Sou in the second week of trial. Prosectors would not say why other than it is related to new evidence uncovered Friday.
The brothers, who were charged in 2009 with 14 counts of visa fraud and forced labor, originally pled guilty to one count each, but withdrew their plea.
But Thai workers they imported are outraged with the Justice department decision. The workers paid up to $20,000 each to come to America on the promise of working here for three years.
Instead they said they were released in 5 months, underpaid and forced to live in storage containers. They were told to borrow the money in Thailand to come here and now are losing their homes and rice fields used as collateral.
The Thai workers did not get to testify before the jury, so today, for the first time, they will tell their stories to the press. The press conference is at 2:30 p.m. today.
U.S. Justice Department Debacle May Impact Global Horizons Trafficking Case
The dismissal of the Thai trafficking case may be good news for Mordechai Orian, the head of Global Horizons Manpower Company. He is being prosecuted by the same legal justice team.
Orian, who attended the Aloun trial, writes about his case in a Hawaii Reporter exclusive today. The FBI said Orian’s case, which they said involves up to 700 Thai workers, is the “largest human trafficking case in U.S. history.”
Orian, who has appeared on a 1-hour Hawaii Reporter television interview, denies any wrongdoing.
Dems Attack, Lingle Staffer Fights Back
Former Gov. Linda Lingle’s senior policy advisor defends her former boss in an opinion piece in Hawaii Reporter today. Linda Smith said Lingle was attacked recently by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. She said the democratic operatives misrepresented Linda Lingle’s record of accomplishments and called her partisan. Lingle may be running for U.S. Senate in the Republican primary.
Linda Smith said “There is no place in Hawaii for these deplorable tactics by national partisan political staffers. The voters of Hawaii deserve better.”
Reapportionment Commission to Vote on First Draft of Maps
The state reapportionment commission will meet today at the Hawaii State Capitol to vote on the first draft of redistricting maps. The 9-member commission is charged with making proposed changes to Hawaii’s two congressional districts and 51 state House and 25 state Senate districts according to population changed noted in this year’s census.
The maps will be released online and available for public review and comment. The commissioners will hold public meetings on all islands beginning next week.
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