Tulsa (Oklahoma), Sept. 9 (AP): A local manufacturer exploited and abused workers brought to the US from India, their lawyers said in the first phase of a labour trafficking trial.
The 52 workers, who were recruited in India, came to work as welders, fitters and electricians at the John Pickle Co., which made specialised equipment for the oil industry.
“This case... is about human trafficking for labour,” Johnny Parker, attorney for the workers, told federal judge Claire Eagan, who is hearing the civil case without a jury.
The workers are seeking back wages and unspecified damages.
The workers have said they were told that they would receive work at US wages but instead were paid only $2 to $3 an hour in the autumn of 2001. They lived in a factory dormitory instead of the flats they had expected.
The workers said they were told to wait for a company escort before leaving the grounds.
Attorneys for the company said the workers knew they were coming to the US as low-paid trainees, signed documents to that effect and were free to come and go.
Pickle’s lawyers said recruitment was done by an Indian recruitment firm.