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15 Jun 2016

Seafood exporters lawsuit (re human trafficking in Thailand)


Date lawsuit was filed
15 Jun 2016
Date accuracy
Year and Month Correct
Migrant & immigrant workers
Location of Filing: United States of America
Location of Incident: Thailand
Type of Litigation: Transnational


Rubicon United States of America Waste disposal



In June 2016, seven Cambodian former employees at a Thai seafood factory that produces seafood for export to the USA filed a civil lawsuit in a California federal court against two US (Rubicon Resources LLC, Wales & Co Universe) and two Thai companies (Phatthana Seafood and SS Frozen Food).  The lawsuit also mentions Walmart as one of Phatthana Seafood’s customers. In November 2016, the court denied the defendants' motion and ruled that the lawsuit can proceed.

Factual background

While employed in the factory, the plaintiffs allegedly suffered from severe working and living conditions, underpayment, unlawful salary reductions, restrictions of movement and other serious abuses.

Legal argument

The lawsuit also alleges human trafficking, forced labour and servitude.

Legal proceedings

The companies filed a motion to dismiss the complaint arguing that the alleged conduct occurred outside the USA and the court did not have jurisdiction over the case.  In November 2016, the court denied the defendants' motion and ruled that the lawsuit can proceed.