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USA: Indian workers file lawsuit against Signal alleging human trafficking & poor working conditions

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19 February 2015

US court finds ship repair firm Signal guilty of discriminating against & trafficking Indian workers

Author: Reuters

“Indian workers awarded millions after US firm found guilty of trafficking,” 19 Feb 2015

A New Orleans jury...awarded $14m to five Indian men who were lured to the [USA] and forced to work under inhumane conditions after Hurricane Katrina by a ship repair firm and its codefendants. After a four-week trial, the…jury ruled that…Signal...was guilty of labour trafficking, fraud, racketeering and discrimination and ordered it to pay $12m. Its co-defendants, a...lawyer and an India-based recruiter, were also found guilty and ordered to pay an additional $915,000 each. The trial was the first in more than a dozen related lawsuits with over 200 plaintiffs that together comprise one of the largest labour trafficking cases in US history…Signal said in a statement that it is weighing an appeal. “Signal strongly disagrees with rulings from the court in the case which impacted its ability to present defences and is disappointed with the verdict,” the company said...

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10 March 2008

Trafficking racket: Indian workers file case against US employer

Author: Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India

Some 500 Indian workers caught in what they claim is a human trafficking racket have asked the Indian government to protect their families in India from vengeful recruiters even as they filed a class action anti-racketeering lawsuit in the US against their American employer...In one incident, the company sent in armed guards to apprehend the protesters in a pre-dawn raid, as a result of which he says he attempted suicide by cutting his own wrists. "I was desperate...I was ready to die," [former worker Sabulal Vijayan] says. Signal, on its part, denies all charges and say the company has gone out of its way to make the workers comfortable, spending up to $7 million to build plush new housing facilities.

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6 March 2008

[PDF] [Signal statement regarding allegations of mistreatment of Indian workers in USA]

Author: Signal International

...a few of the workers whom Signal had sponsored for H2B visas and recruited have made baseless and unfounded allegations against Signal concerning their employment and living conditions. Signal vehemently denies these allegations...

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