fbpx

Apex USA Human Trafficking Foreign Worker Exploitation Program Class Action

The US Department of State facilitates a Summer Work Travel Program and a Trainee and Intern Program,  under which foreign students or recent graduates can get a temporary J-1 visa to work in the US. Unfortunately, the complaint for this class action claims that some of these young people have been exploited in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. It claims they were lied to about work, accommodations, and pay, charged large fees for recruitment, processing, and travel, and then employed and housed under very different conditions.

The class for this action is all foreign nationals admitted to the US on J-1 visas under the Summer Work Travel or Trainee and Intern Program, with Apex USA, Inc. as the J-1 Sponsor petitioner, and for whom at least one defendant was the de facto employer in the US, at any time between June 15, 2008 and December 31, 2013.

The defendants in this case begin with Apex USA, Inc., a sponsor in Clinton, OK with the ability to recruit and oversee people for the programs. The other company defendants include a Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, Montana Mike’s Steakhouse, and Water Zoo Indoor Water Park, all in Clinton, OK, and all associated with Walter and Carolyn Schumacher, individual defendants in this case. The Schumachers were also associated with Apex.

The complaint claims that Apex recruited the three plaintiffs, Dorret Francis, Anthony Kennedy, and Christine Pearce, in Jamaica, promising them full-time work with good pay, affordable housing, food, transportation, and the opportunity to find additional work from other employers in the area. They signed Offer Letters, but when they arrived, the jobs were often substantially different from what they’d been offered.

For example, plaintiff Kennedy was told he would have a front desk or housekeeping position for $7.25 a hour; in reality, the complaint says, in the housekeeping position, he was paid only $4 per room cleaned, a time-intensive operation which did not earn him minimum wage. Also, the complaint claims that they were not provided with full-time work and were prevented from taking additional work in the area.

The housing they were assigned was crowded and “inadequate,” the complaint says, although they were required to pay up to $100 a week, even for shared rooms.

To get the positions and travel to the US, the workers paid approximately $2,000-$3,000, the complaint says, which meant they found it difficult to earn enough to pay what they owed, much less earn enough to return to their home countries or save for their next student terms. Normally, a worker can complain to their visa sponsor about abusive work conditions, but since the sponsor and employer were both owned by the same couple, this was not possible.

The complaint claims that the defendants violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Civil Rights

Most Recent Case Event

Apex USA Human Trafficking Foreign Worker Exploitation Program Complaint

June 15, 2018

The US Department of State facilitates a Summer Work Travel Program and a Trainee and Intern Program,  under which foreign students or recent graduates can get a temporary J-1 visa to work in the US. Unfortunately, the complaint for this class action claims that some of these young people have been exploited in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. It claims they were lied to about work, accommodations, and pay, charged large fees for recruitment, processing, and travel, and then employed and housed under very different conditions. 

apex_victim_trafficing_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

Apex USA Human Trafficking Foreign Worker Exploitation Program Complaint

June 15, 2018

The US Department of State facilitates a Summer Work Travel Program and a Trainee and Intern Program,  under which foreign students or recent graduates can get a temporary J-1 visa to work in the US. Unfortunately, the complaint for this class action claims that some of these young people have been exploited in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. It claims they were lied to about work, accommodations, and pay, charged large fees for recruitment, processing, and travel, and then employed and housed under very different conditions. 

apex_victim_trafficing_complaint.pdf
Tags: Civil Rights, Human Trafficking or Slave Labor