Feds drop human trafficking charges

July 20, 2012 at 10:05 PM
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HONOLULU, July 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department said Friday it was moving to drop its human trafficking criminal case against Global Horizons Manpower Inc.

Federal authorities had once trumpeted the case against Global Horizons as the biggest human trafficking case in U.S. history, the news Web site Honolulu Civil Beat noted.

Justice Department spokeswoman Nanda Chitre said in a release the department moved for the dismissal based on further review of the evidence.

"A team of attorneys and agents determined the government is unable to prove the elements of the charged offenses beyond a reasonable doubt, the high standard applied in criminal prosecutions, and that proceeding with the prosecution no longer serves the public interest," Chitre said. "The dismissal is based on facts and circumstances specific to this case, applies to the criminal prosecution only, and does not apply to any ongoing civil litigation being conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission."

Honolulu Civil Beat said the decision to drop the Global Horizons case followed last year's dismissal of the Aloun Farms case in mid-trial after it was disclosed the lead prosecutor had misstated the law in front of a grand jury. The same team of federal prosecutors handled the Global Horizons case.

The EEOC is suing Global Horizons and several farms in California and Washington state for allegedly abusing hundreds of workers brought into the country from Thailand "on the promise of high-paying wages and temporary visas," only to be "forced into vermin-ridden housing, denied the opportunity to leave the premises and subjected to harassment, including physical assault by their overseers."

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