PBS documentary series Frontline recently exposed a 2014 labor-trafficking case involving impoverished teens forced to work for major egg producer Trillium Farms in Ohio. The teens—originally from Guatemala—agreed to a deal with a smuggler, who promised them a better life in the United States in exchange for $15,000. Upon arriving to the US, most of the teens were detained by US Border Patrol and turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Because the smugglers had a network of accomplices posing as sponsors, HHS released the teens to traffickers. The teens worked against their wills for $600 per week—of which $550 was kept by the traffickers—to pay off their so-called “debts.” One teen was able to contact his uncle in Florida who called the local sheriff. Federal and local law enforcement investigated the case and discovered that the trafficking operation was run by a third-party contractor hired by Trillium. Law enforcement detained approximately 45 people, at least 10 of whom were victims of trafficking, including eight minors. The alleged mastermind of the trafficking scheme was taken into federal custody but Trillium has not been charged. Similarly, in 2017, a group of Mexican veterinarians sued Idaho dairy farm Funk Dairy, Inc. for human trafficking.
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