U.S. Slave Trader Pleads Guilty, Faints in Front of Judge
Giant Labor Solutions, LLC offered immigrants a deal that was too good to be true. Pay a few thousand dollars, Giant Labor would get visas for them, and the workers could live the American dream. Those who got suckered became slaves of human traffickers and organized crime.
Abrorkhodja Askarkhodjaev, 31, from Uzbekistan, used a variety of companies including Giant Labor, Crystal Management Inc. and Five Star Cleaning to lure the workers. Using various companies, Askarkhodjaev applied for more than 1,000 fraudulent H-2B visas which he sold to the highest bidder for between $400 to $3,000, a violation of federal law.
After the worker arrived in Kansas City, MO., the promise changed. Most of the immigrants were forced to clean motel rooms even though they applied for other kinds of work. Workers were paid a commission of $3.50 per motel room, no hourly wage and no over-time. Meanwhile, Giant Labor Solutions, LLC kept their contract wages along with employment taxes, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.
Askarkhodjaev forced the workers to live together usually 8 to an apartment. He rented the apartments for $385 to $650 and then charged each worker $250 to $350 to live there, generating up to $2,100 per apartment profit.
The apartments were not sex specific, with little furniture, so the immigrants slept on air mattresses. Those who asked for their own living arrangements were threatened with deportation. Other fees were charged, including interstate transportation to jobs the immigrants did not want, transportation to and from work, uniform fees, visa fees and fees that were unexplained. By the end of the month, many workers owed money to the company in a human traffickers version of a company store.
Escape was difficult due to the language barrier, fear of animosity towards undocumented workers, and fear of the criminal gang that hired them . The workers were not allowed access to their mail since Askarkhodjaevas kept the key. They were threatened with deportation if they did not adhere to the rules. A worker who asked to return to his home-land was told his family would have to pay a $5,000 fee, which would have left the worker’s family in eternal debt to organized criminals. In some cases, the workers were told harm would come to their families if they ran.Continued on the next page