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The shipyard workers – who are from India – have filed a class action suit against Signal International, a marine fabrication company; recruiters in India and the United States; and a New Orleans immigration lawyer, Malvern Burnett; accusing them of forced labor, human trafficking, fraud and civil rights violations.
The suit charges that in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, more than 500 Indian men "were trafficked into the United States through the federal government's H-2B guestworker program to provide labor and services . . . Plaintiffs were subjected to forced labor as welders, pipefitters, shipfitters, and other marine fabrication workers at Signal operations in Pascagoula, Mississippi and Orange, Texas."