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15 Jul 2015

USA: GEO Group faces lawsuits over alleged use of forced labour at immigrant detention facilities

GEO Group has been accused of relying on cheap and unpaid labor by detained immigrants and is facing several lawsuits alleging that “voluntary” work programs at their facilities violate state minimum-wage laws. Several people currently or formerly living in detention have alleged that they were threatened if they didn't work and worried they could not afford basic commissary items without performing labor for GEO. 

We sought a response from GEO Group to these allegations; the response is below. In its response, GEO said that the US "federal government sets the performance-based national detention standards which govern the Voluntary Work Program at all ICE Processing Centers" and "any allegation that individuals, in ICE Processing Centers, are retaliated against or have to volunteer to work in order to have access to, or pay for, basic hygiene products or food is completely baseless and demonstrably false."