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Cassandra Clifford
Executive Director and Founder of BTFF

Monday, November 26, 2012

Three firms agree to pay $213,000 in back wages to foreign student workers at Hersheys plant
Three companies have agreed in settlement to pay more than $213,000 in back wages to hundreds of foreign students for summer jobs they held at a Hershey candy company facility, the U.S. Department of Labor said Wednesday. The settlement also requires two of the companies to pay fines totaling $148,000. Hersheys was not cited because it contracts out the operation of the warehouse and distribution center to Exel, Inc, an Ohio-based company. Exel, SHS Group, and the San Clemente, California-based Council for Education Travel USA agree to pay these back wages to $1,087 at an average of $207 per student.

Ikea Admits Forced Labor was Used in 1980s
Ikea, the popular Swedish furniture company, recently admitted that political prisoners in the former East Germany were used as forced labor to make components of Ikea furniture. Some of the employees were aware. The accusations began about a year ago, stirring more victims to demand compensation for work they were forced to do under the Communist government.

Human trafficking victims freed in prostitution bust
Last week, authorities broke a $7 million three-state prostitution and money laundering ring, rescuing two human trafficking victims and arresting more than a dozen people in New York. The crackdown was a result of a 16-month investigation into Somad Enterprises, Inc., an advertising agency with offices in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania that placed classified ads for five escort services. Approximately half of the $7 million went to Somad, while the other half went to the escort services. Two of the 19 people indicted remain at large.

U.S, Burma agree human trafficking pact
The U.S and Burma have agreed to cooperate on anti-trafficking measures, according to a statement issued by the Department of State, hours before the first visit to Burma by a U.S. president. Burma will use its efforts against forced labor and illegal recruitment of child soldiers while the U.S. pledged to "provide technical assistance, training, and the regular sharing of best practices in the areas of law enforcement investigations, victim/witness interviewing, victim assistance, and trafficking prevention, through U.S. government-funded programs."

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