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US Immigration

Posted 04/28/2010
(Page 2 of 4)
Pinoy couple charged
Filipino workers crammed in sleeping area and floor.

U.S. charges couple in scheme to hold Filipino workers in forced labor

According to the indictment from October 2007 through December 2007 that defendant Baldonado would wake up Filipino workers in the middle of the night and quiz them on table setup and drink recipes, and scold them or make them stand in the corner for answering incorrectly.

The charges also alleged that in the same period defendants frequently shouted, banged on the table, and demeaned the Filipino workers. That between or about October 2007 through February 2008 at a meeting where some of the Filipino workers were housed that workers complained to defendant Baldonado that they had no food and Baldonado became angry, threw a chair and kicked a garbage can and screamed at a Filipina worker demanding to know if she ate 3 meals a day in the Philippines.

ICE's Miami Office of Investigations Special Agent in Charge Anthony V. Mangione said, "Human traffickers target vulnerable victims, including minors, who desire a better life and end up being lured into a situation where they are deprived of their basic human rights. These vicious conditions will not be tolerated in this country and ICE will continue its commitment to rescue victims of this form of modern day slavery and vigorously

investigate, identify and arrest the traffickers that exploit them and bring them to justice."

The charges also alleged that the defendants used false promises to entice the Filipino nationals to incur debts to pay up-front recruitment fees and then compelled the workers to remain in the defendants' service, despite inadequate work or income to pay off the debts. Using a scheme of threats to have the workers arrested and deported with no way to repay their debts, the defendants also allegedly confiscated the workers' passports and restricted their freedom of movement and communications with outsiders.

Manuel is also charged with visa fraud and making false statements to the government to procure foreign labor certifications and visas under the H2B guest worker program.

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