It was last year when I first reported a group of Vietnamese workers say they were brought to America and abandoned in Houston. The men say they signed up for jobs they saw on a television ad in Vietnam. According to a lawsuit when they arrived in America the workers didn’t receive the money they were promised from the two Vietnamese based companies. But despite the alleged lies and deplorable work conditions those 13 men from Vietnam wanted to stay in America. They also wanted to bring their families here. Now, The Insite has learned the men and their families will get to stay in America a while. Their Houston based attorney Tammy Tran says she has been sucessful at getting a temporary reprieve for the men and their families with visas. Here’s more from the original report:
A group of Vietnamese laborers sued two companies partly owned by the Vietnamese Government in Texas federal court today, alleging violations of human trafficking laws, according to The Buzbee Law Firm and co-counsel. The 13 laborers named in the lawsuit allege that about 50 men in their group responded to TV advertisements in Vietnam for high-paying welding jobs around the Houston Ship Channel, then each paid thousands of dollars in travel and visa fees, and were later abandoned eight months into 30-month contracts in February 2009.
The defendants are accused of violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Re-authorization Act of 2005 (TVPRA), the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Alien Tort Claims Act, and conspiracy.According to the complaint, “These poor, uneducated Vietnamese nationals were lured into the United States with the promise of high paying jobs, but instead were housed like animals, and treated like indentured servants.” The laborers, subject to coercion and intimidation, were made to live in a run-down, dilapidated two-bedroom apartment in Pasadena, Texas in living conditions described in the lawsuit as deplorable. The defendants are Hanoi-based companies International Investment Trade and Service Group, also known as Interserco, and Corporation Vietnam Automobile Industry, also known as Vinamotors. Both companies are partly owned by the Vietnamese Government.
Attorneys Tony Buzbee of The Buzbee Law Firm, of Houston, and Tammy Tran, of Houston, represent the Vietnamese laborers, who now reside in Galveston County, Texas and in Louisiana. Buzbee stated, “These men were transported nearly 10,000 miles from their homeland and essentially made to work in indentured servitude. After collecting exorbitant fees to bring them here, agents of the defendants deserted these men, leaving them penniless and facing possible deportation or business processes. They fear for their lives and the lives of their families in Vietnam. Because they were unable to earn any money as promised, they also risk losing their houses and other meager possessions in Vietnam. By terminating these men when they did, we allege the Defendants then replaced them with a new set of hopeful, unsuspecting laborers from whom additional fees and essentially free labor could be collected under this fraudulent scheme.”
According to the complaint, Vietnamese companies export 85,000 laborers each year in the construction, fishing, or manufacturing sectors through informal networks and state-owned and private labor export companies. The case is “Thang Hong Luu, et al., v. International Investment Trade and Service Group, et al.,” Case No. 3:11-cv-00182 in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division.
Tammy Tran says: GOD FIRST AND THE FOLLOWING PERSONS: MR. TONY BUZBEE (LITIGATION EXPERT), MR. GORDON QUAN (IMMIGRATION LAW EXPERT), PROFESSOR NAOMI BANG (IMMIGRATION LAW EXPERT), COUNCILMAN AL HOANG, CATHERINE LE, PETE MAI, BA NGUYEN, JOHN NA, SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW’S IMMIGRATION CLINIC, AND FATHER ANTHONY HUNG TRAN AND THE VIETNAMESE COMMUNITY. I AM JUST A SERVANT OF GOD.