12 charged in alleged human trafficking scheme

The Associated Press
10:56 a.m. May 27, 2009

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Federal prosecutors say 12 people and three companies were involved in a scheme to lure illegal immigrants to the U.S. to work as "modern-day slaves" in 14 states.

Federal officials announced Wednesday that a federal grand jury in Kansas City issued a 45-count indictment against the 12 defendants that included labor racketeering, forced labor trafficking and immigration violations.

Prosecutors say the defendants used false information to get fake work visas for the foreign workers. Once in the U.S., many of the workers allegedly were threatened with deportation and forced to live in substandard apartments while working for inadequate pay.

The indictment says the conspiracy involved fraudulent labor leasing contracts in Missouri, Kansas, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, South Carolina and Wyoming.

http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/ ... dex=106283