A Houston company has been exploiting Vietnamese workers by promising big bucks, bringing them over here to work near the Ship Channel and then gouging them for rent and transportation costs while putting them up in dilapidated housing, a lawsuit claims.
Thus it has been in America since...well, since America began. But attorney Tammy Tran is hoping the courts may provide some justice.
In the suit, plaintiff Thang Hong Luu paints a grim picture of working for Coast to Coast Resources (a company we couldn't reach):
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Luu claims he relocated to Houston after the company promised him a $120,000 salary over 30 months for work near the Houston Ship Channel. Coast to Coast also promised the workers comfortable living, but housed them in a "rundown, dilapidated two-bedroom apartment" with three other laborers, the plaintiff claims. The employer allegedly deducted $500 a month from their paychecks for rent and $1,200 a month for transportation.
The company did not allow its workers to "go anywhere," the suit says.
Luu eventually got fired: "Luu says they returned him early to make room for "a new set of hopeful, unsuspecting laborers from whom a fresh set of fees (and essentially free labor) can be collected under this fraudulent scheme," the suit says.
We're not sure this practice is going to stop anytime soon -- whether the victims are Vietnamese, Central Americans or the Irish escaping the 1847 Famine -- but a lawsuit can't hurt the effort.