Bringing Light to the Darkness of Human Trafficking (Trafficking in Persons)

ohio farm

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A fourth person on Monday pleaded guilty to his role in a human-trafficking scheme that recruited undocumented immigrants, including some children, and forced them to work on an egg farm in Marion.

Pablo Duran Ramirez Jr., 50, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Cleveland to his role in the scheme that brought dozens of illegal immigrants to the farm who were physically threatened and forced to live in small, broken-down trailers.

He faces up to a decade in prison when he's sentenced on Jan. 7.

Duran Ramirez owned Haba Corporate Services, a labor company that contracted with Trillium Farms in Marion.

Tillium paid Haba $6 million for Haba to provide the workers, some as young as 14 years old. Haba provided workers recruited by human traffickers with the promise that they would come to America, get good jobs and the chance to attend a good school.

Haba subcontracted with several companies and co-defendants who provided the workers.

Smugglers brought the workers to the farm, where they were forced to de-beak chickens, vaccinate them and clean coops for 12 hours a day. They were threatened with violence and the company withheld paychecks to compel them to work. Eight people under age 18 and two adults were identified as victims, prosecutors said.

Duran Ramirez knew the workers were children and were unlawfully in the country, prosecutors said. He also admitted that he knew the workers were coerced or threatened and housed in the trailers. Federal agents found some 40 workers during a December 2014 raid.

Three other co-defendants previously pleaded guilty in the scheme. The lead smuggler and enforcer, Aroldo Castillo-Serrano of Guatemala, was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison.

Ana Angelica Pedro-Juan of Guatemala was sentenced to 10 years in prison for overseeing the victims in Marion and Conrado Salgado-Soto of Mexico, a subcontractor for Haba, was sentenced to more than four years in prison.

Article from: https://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2018/09/man_pleads_guilty_in_human_tra.html