USA: Construction workers sue Imperial Pacific and its contractors over claims for forced labour and human trafficking in Saipan

In March 2019, seven Chinese construction workers filed a case at the Federal Court in Saipan to sue Imperial Pacific International and its contractors, MCC International Saipan Ltd and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration, over forced labour and human trafficking claims on a casino construction project. Workers accused the defendants of requiring them to work for over 12 hours a day, offering no day off, paying below minimum wage, providing abysmal living quarters and confiscating their passports, among other allegations.

In April 2019, the US Department of Labor ordered Imperial Pacific International to pay $3,160,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to about 1,100 employees and $200,000 in civil money penalties. Under the consent judgment filed in the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, Imperial Pacific International would also “amend [its] payroll practices and require all contractors to amend and maintain their payroll practices by paying all employees an hourly rate in compliance with minimum wage and overtime provision of the labor law.”

In May 2020, the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands found Imperial Pacific International in contempt of courts for failing to produce discovery that the court had previously ordered.

In July 2019, when responding to a request from the Business & Human Rights resource Centre to comment on the case, Imperial Pacific stated that it “supports and strives to comply with all federal and local labor and safety laws and regulations aimed at protecting workers from harm and safeguarding their rights, including expecting our contractors to be compliant with these same laws and regulations”.

We have another story about allegations of human rights abuses against Imperial Pacific and labour groups' call for inquiry into the alleged rights violations:
USA: "Many" Chinese construction workers on Saipan island were reportedly injured or died building Imperial Pacific casinos; company denies allegations

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21 May 2020

USA: Imperial Pacific International ordered to pay $29K attorneys' fees and costs incurred by seven former workers

Author: Saipan Tribune (USA)

“IPI ordered to pay $29K attorneys’ fees, costs to 7 ex-workers”, 7 May 2020

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona ordered Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC… to pay a total of $29,459 in attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by the seven former workers who are suing IPI and its contractor and subcontractor.

Manglona ordered IPI to pay the former workers $25,872 for hours expended by their New York-based counsel Aaron Halegua, and $1,782 for hours expended by their local counsel, Bruce Berline.

The judge also ordered IPI to pay the former workers $1,648 for hours expended by the former workers’ paralegal, Jacob Kessler, and $156 in costs…

The seven workers from China, who worked on IPI’s casino construction project in Garapan, have asked the court to award them $31,801 in attorneys’ fees and $156 in costs in connection with their countermotion to compel…

The plaintiffs… are suing IPI, MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co. and MCC’s subcontractor, Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI) LLC, over the alleged injuries they suffered during accidents at the worksite of IPI’s resort/casino project in Garapan... 

The workers alleged, among other things, that they were forced to work long hours for below minimum wage under extremely dangerous conditions at the casino-resort worksite.

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Author: Saipan Tribune (美国)

[此翻译由企业责任资源中心提供]

“博华太平洋被勒令支付七名前员工2.9万美元的律师费和其他费用”,202057

美国北马里亚纳群岛联邦地区法院首席法官曼格洛纳(Ramona V. Manglona)命令博华太平洋……支付七名前员工起诉该公司及其承包商和分包商产生的29459美元的律师费和相关费用。 

曼格洛纳命令博华太平洋承担这些前雇员的律师费:向纽约律师何宜伦(Aaron Halegua)支付25872美元,向当地律师布鲁斯·柏林(Bruce Berline)支付1782美元。

法官还勒令公司向前员工的律师助理雅各布·凯斯勒(Jacob Kessler)支付1648美元的法律服务费和156美元的其他支出……

这七名来自中国的工人曾在加拉班(Garapan)参与了博华太平洋赌场建设工作,他们要求法院判决,让被告承担31801美元的律师费和156美元的相反申请费用……

原告……正在起诉博华太平洋、中冶集团塞班国际有限公司(MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co.)和金螳螂(北马里亚纳群岛)建筑装饰有限责任公司(Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI) LLC);他们在加拉班博华太平洋度假村/赌场项目的事故中受伤,要求被诉公司承担事故责任……

工人们声称,他们被迫在极端危险的环境下长时间工作,工资却没有达到最低标准。

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Author: Saipan Tribune (美國)

[此翻譯由企業責任資源中心提供]

“博華太平洋被勒令支付七名前員工2.9萬美元的律師費和其他費用”, 202057

美國北馬里亞納群島聯邦地區法院首席法官曼格洛納( Ramona V. Manglona )命令博華太平洋……支付七名前員工起訴該公司及其承包商和分包商產生的29459美元的律師費和相關費用。

曼格洛納命令博華太平洋承擔這些前僱員的律師費:向紐約律師何宜倫( Aaron Halegua )支付25872美元,向當地律師布魯斯·柏林( Bruce Berline )支付1782美元。

法官還勒令公司向前員工的律師助理雅各布·凱斯勒( Jacob Kessler )支付1648美元的法律服務費和156美元的其他支出……

這七名來自中國的工人曾在加拉班( Garapan )參與了博華太平洋賭場建設工作,他們要求法院判決,讓被告承擔31801美元的律師費和156美元的相反申請費用……

原告……正在起訴博華太平洋、中冶集團塞班國際有限公司( MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co. )和金螳螂(北馬里亞納群島)建築裝飾有限責任公司( Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI) LLC );他們在加拉班博華太平洋度假村/賭場項目的事故中受傷,要求被訴公司承擔事故責任……

工人們聲稱,他們被迫在極端危險的環境下長時間工作,工資卻沒有達到最低標準。

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Article
4 May 2020

USA: Imperial Pacific International found in contempt of court in alleged forced labour case in Saipan

Author: Marianas Variety

“IPI found in contempt of court, ordered to pay attorney’s fees and costs”, 16 April 2020

CHIEF Judge Ramona V. Manglona of the District Court for the NMI on… found Imperial Pacific International in contempt of court for violating two of her previous orders. She also ordered IPI to pay the plaintiffs attorney’s fees.

In addition, the judge gave IPI one month to produce documents requested by the plaintiffs; otherwise, it will be required to pay $2,000 per day until it produces everything.

Attorneys Aaron Halegua and Bruce Berline represent seven workers who alleged that they were victims of a forced labor and human trafficking scheme while employed by IPI’s former construction contractor and subcontractor, MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co. and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI)…

Halegua earlier asked the court for an order sanctioning IPI for failing to produce discovery that the court had previously ordered.

IPI, for its part, opposed the motion for sanction, saying none of its delayed production of requested documents or materials were due to willfulness or, bad faith, or its fault…

Halegua’s oral request to file an amended complaint to join new parties, with no objection from defense counsel, was also granted by the judge at the hearing. She ordered the plaintiffs to file the amended complaint on May 23, 2020…

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Author: Marianas Variety

[此翻译由企业责任资源中心提供]

“博华太平洋被判藐视法庭,并被勒令支付律师费和诉讼费”,2020年4月16日

北马里亚纳群岛联邦地区法院首席法官曼格罗纳(Ramona V. Manglona)……因博华太平洋违反她之前发出的两项命令,判决该公司藐视法庭。她还勒令公司支付原告方的律师费。

此外,法官给博华太平洋一个月的时间来准备原告方要求查阅的文件,每延迟一天处2000美元的罚款。

何宜伦(Aaron Halegua)和布鲁斯·伯林(Bruce Berline)担任七名工人的代理律师。他们自称是强迫劳动和人口贩运的受害者,曾受雇于博华太平洋雇用的建筑承包商和分包商中冶集团塞班国际有限公司(MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co.),金螳螂建筑装饰股份有限公司(Gold Mantis Construction Decoration)……

何宜伦此前曾请求法院颁发一项命令,对博华太平洋不执行法庭要求其提交相关文件的命令进行惩罚。

博华太平洋反对该动议,辩称延迟提交文件或资料不是出于故意、恶意或过失……

在听证时,在被告律师没有提出反对的情况下,曼格罗纳法官准许了何宜伦提出的在起诉书中追加原告的口头请求。她命令原告在2020年5月23日提交修正后的起诉书……

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Author: Marianas Variety

[此翻譯由企業責任資源中心提供]

“博華太平洋被判藐視法庭,並被勒令支付律師費和訴訟費”,2020年4月16日

北馬里亞納群島聯邦地區法院首席法官曼格羅納(Ramona V. Manglona)……因博華太平洋違反她之前發出的兩項命令,判決該公司藐視法庭。她還勒令公司支付原告方的律師費。

此外,法官給博華太平洋一個月的時間來準備原告方要求查閱的文件,每延遲一天處2000美元的罰款。

何宜倫(Aaron Halegua)和布魯斯·伯林(Bruce Berline)擔任七名工人的代理律師。他們自稱是強迫勞動和人口販運的受害者,曾受僱於博華太平洋僱用的建築承包商和分包商中冶集團塞班國際有限公司(MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co.),金螳螂建築裝飾股份有限公司(Gold Mantis Construction Decoration)……

何宜倫此前曾請求法院頒發一項命令,對博華太平洋不執行法庭要求其提交相關文件的命令進行懲罰。

博華太平洋反對該動議,辯稱延遲提交文件或資料不是出於故意、惡意或過失……

在聽證時,在被告律師沒有提出反對的情況下,曼格羅納法官准許了何宜倫提出的在起訴書中追加原告的口頭請求。她命令原告在2020年5月23日提交修正後的起訴書……

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Author: William Nee, 国际特赦组职

[此中文翻译由企业责任资源中心提供]

 “现在是中国在“一带一路”项目上采取行动打击侵犯人权的时机”,2019年11月3日

…2017年,该设施在太平洋上的美国联邦岛上开业后不久,美国联邦政府调查发现,该项目的总承包商和中国一间国有企业的子公司中冶集团(MCC)向数百名建筑工人少付了数百万美元。

几个月前,中冶集团的几名前雇员对公司提起诉讼,指控其进行强迫劳动、人口贩运,并且未能为他们在从事赌场项目时遭受的身体伤害赔偿。公司经理还因违反联邦移民和就业法而被判入狱。

中冶集团在香港证券交易所(HKEX)上市,自2013年以来,香港证券交易所已要求上市公司提交有关其运营中人权风险的 “环境,社会与治理” (ESG)年度报告。理论上,此类报告应有助公司发现问题并减轻其影响。但是,对于违反者几乎没有后果,许多公司都不遵守。

国际特赦组职审查了中冶集团提交的2016年,2017年和2018年“环境,社会与治理”报告,以及这些年公司的企业社会责任(CSR)报告,但没有提及塞班岛的项目,更不用说那里发生的虐待事件了…

中冶集团金仍未纠正所有侵犯人权的行为。尽管中冶集团为由联邦政府调查发现、违反最低工资的规定而向工人作出赔偿,但2019年的诉讼凸显出许多受伤的工人仍未获得补偿。

塞班案清楚地表明,CSR和ESG自发报告系统有所不足。但是应该如何改进它们?

通过在“一带一路”倡议(BRI)中的项目设定高标准,中国可以成为这领域的领导者,而不是看着公司从事侵犯人权的行为…

中国应依法要求所有参与“一带一路”倡议的公司按照国际标准进行人权尽职调查。这意味着公司不仅必须提交报告,而且还必须识别、预防、减轻和考虑其(及其子公司)运营对人权的影响。

应该赋予中国政府机构更大的权力,以惩罚不合格的公司。侵犯人权行为的受害者也应能够通过法院或其他机制对犯罪实体寻求补救。

这种情况并不像听起来那样牵强。去年11月,北京宣布在海外经营的中国公司必须遵守当地法律,并遵守《联合国企业与人权指导原则》…

如果中国通过并执行一项法律,要求其公司实施和公开披露此类做法,它将发出一个有意义的信号,表明它在认真地保护人权,并有可能提高“一带一路”倡议的形象…

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Author: William Nee, 國際特赦組織

[此中文翻譯由企業責任資源中心提供]

“現在是中國在“一帶一路”項目上採取行動打擊侵犯人權的時機”,2019年11月3日

…2017年,該設施在太平洋上的美國聯邦島上開業後不久,美國聯邦政府調查發現,該項目的總承包商和中國一間國有企業的子公司中冶集團(MCC)向數百名建築工人少付了數百萬美元。

幾個月前,中冶集團的幾名前僱員對公司提起訴訟,指控其進行強迫勞動、人口販運,並且未能為他們在從事賭場項目時遭受的身體傷害賠償。公司經理還因違反聯邦移民和就業法而被判入獄。

中冶集團在香港證券交易所(HKEX)上市,自2013年以來,香港證券交易所已要求上市公司提交有關其運營中人權風險的 “環境,社會與治理” (ESG)年度報告。理論上,此類報告應有助公司發現問題並減輕其影響。但是,對於違反者幾乎沒有後果,許多公司都不遵守。

國際特赦組職審查了中冶集團提交的2016年,2017年和2018年“環境,社會與治理”報告,以及這些年公司的企業社會責任(CSR)報告,但沒有提及塞班島的項目,更不用說那裡發生的虐待事件了…

中冶集團金仍未糾正所有侵犯人權的行為。儘管中冶集團為由聯邦政府調查發現、違反最低工資的規定而向工人作出賠償,但2019年的訴訟凸顯出許多受傷的工人仍未獲得補償。

塞班案清楚地表明,CSR和ESG自發報告系統有所不足。但是應該如何改進它們?

通過在“一帶一路”倡議(BRI)中的項目設定高標準,中國可以成為這領域的領導者,而不是看著公司從事侵犯人權的行為…

中國應依法要求所有參與“一帶一路”倡議的公司按照國際標准進行人權盡職調查。這意味著公司不僅必須提交報告,而且還必須識別、預防、減輕和考慮其(及其子公司)運營對人權的影響。

應該賦予中國政府機構更大的權力,以懲罰不合格的公司。侵犯人權行為的受害者也應能夠通過法院或其他機制對犯罪實體尋求補救。

這種情況並不像聽起來那樣牽強。去年11月,北京宣佈在海外經營的中國公司必須遵守當地法律,並遵守《聯合國企業與人權指導原則》…

如果中國通過並執行一項法律,要求其公司實施和公開披露此類做法,它將發出一個有意義的信號,表明它在認真地保護人權,並有可能提高“一帶一路”倡議的形象…

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Article
6 November 2019

China should take action against human rights abuses for Belt and Road projects, analyst says

Author: William Nee, Amnesty International

“Time for China to take action against human rights abuses on its Belt and Road projects”, 3 November 2019

… In 2017, shortly after the facility opened on the island, part of a US commonwealth in the Pacific, a US federal government investigation found that Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) – the project’s general contractor and a subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned conglomerate – had underpaid millions of US dollars to hundreds of construction workers.

A few months ago, several former MCC employees sued the company for forced labour, human trafficking, and failing to compensate them for the physical injuries they suffered while working on the casino project. A company manager also spent time in jail for violating federal immigration and employment laws.

MCC is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), which, since 2013, has required listed companies to file an annual “Environmental, Social and Governance” (ESG) report on human rights risks in their operations. In theory, such reporting should encourage companies to identify problems and mitigate their effects. But there are few consequences for violators and many companies do not comply.

Amnesty International reviewed the ESG reports filed by MCC for 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports for those years, but found no mention of the project in Saipan – let alone the abuses that occurred there…

MCC still has not remedied all human rights abuses. While MCC contributed to compensating workers for the minimum wage violations uncovered by a federal government investigation, the 2019 lawsuit highlights that many injured workers remain uncompensated.

The Saipan case clearly shows that the CSR and ESG self-reporting systems are broken. But how can they be improved?

Rather than watching as its companies engage in human rights abuses, China could become a leader in this area by setting high standards for projects in its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)…

China should legally require all companies participating in BRI to carry out human rights due diligence in line with international standards. This means companies must not only file reports, but also identify, prevent, mitigate and account for the human rights impacts of their (and their subsidiaries’) operations.

Chinese government agencies should be given greater powers to punish companies who fall short. Victims of human rights abuses should also be able to seek remedies against the perpetrating entities through courts or other mechanisms.

Such a scenario isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound. This past November, Beijing proclaimed that Chinese companies operating overseas must observe local laws and adhere to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights…

If China passed – and enforced – a law that required its companies to implement and publicly disclose such practices, it would send a meaningful signal that it was serious about protecting human rights and potentially enhance the image of the BRI…

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Author: 塞班论坛报(美国)

“对博华太平洋及其两个承包商的劳工案件可以继续”,2019年6月26日

塞班岛联邦地方法院决定... 允许七名中国建筑工人对赌场运营商博华太平洋国际(北马里亚纳群岛自由邦)有限责任公司及其两家承包商继续进行强迫劳动和人口贩卖诉讼。

案件( Wang, et al. v. Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI), LLC, et al., 18 Civ. 0030)涉及原告在塞班岛博华太平洋赌场和度假村项目上的工作所产生的索赔。第一次修订的投诉引发了根据联邦 「人口贩运受害者保护重新授权法案 (Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act)」和「北马里亚纳群岛自由邦反贩运法(CNMI Anti-Trafficking Act)」对强迫劳动和人口贩运的索赔,以及根据北马里亚纳群岛自由邦法律就原告在该项目中遭受的身体伤害提出的索赔。原告正在为他们的伤病和痛苦以及惩罚性损害寻求金钱赔偿。这些索赔中的每一项都是针对案件中的三名被告:博华太平洋国际,中国中冶塞班国际和金螳螂建筑装饰公司(北马里亚纳群岛自由邦)...

在2019年4月30日,被告提出动议驳回对他们的各种指控。然而,在2019年6月24日的决定中,首席法官Ramona V. Manglona否决了所有被告的动议。法院认定「...原告对每个被告都提出了合理的[强迫劳动]索赔。」

三名被告中的每一位必须在14天内对第一次修改的投诉作出答复...

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