LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal agency has sued a California-based labor contractor and farms in Washington and Hawaii alleging discrimination against more than 200 Thai workers in what it has called its largest human trafficking case in agriculture to date.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed lawsuits Tuesday against Beverly Hills-based Global Horizons Inc. and six farms in Hawaii and two in Washington.

The agency says in a statement that Global Horizons lured workers from 2003 to 2007 with promises of steady jobs on agricultural visas but confiscated their passports and threatened to deport them if they complained. The agency says workers face dilapidated housing, threats and abuse.

The agency says it is seeking back pay and damages.

The phone numbers listed on Global Horizons’ web site were not working.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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