Nearly 200 Indian workers have won a settlement worth $20 million, against a US based firm, which accused of defrauding and exploiting them. These workers were taken to the US by the American marine construction company, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, to repair oil rigs and other damaged marine facilities.
The lawsuits against the firm, Signal International, are among the largest labour trafficking cases in US history. The relief for the 200 Indian workers, is a result of the verdict that found the firm liable of luring the workers from India and subsequently exploiting them.
The workers allegedly each paid the labour recruiters and a lawyer, between $10,000 and $20,000 in terms of recruitment fees, and other costs after the recruiters lured them, promising well paid jobs, along with green card facilities and permanent US residency for them and their families. Now, the Alabama-based firm has also been asked to issue an apology to the workers for the fraudulence and exploitation.
These workers, who had sold their meagre properties back home to bear the costs of recruitment, soon found themselves in appalling living and working conditions. The underpaid and exploited workers decided to file a lawsuit when they found that none of the promises made to them were fulfilled.