Exploited Chinese immigrants were recruited into illicit cannabis operation, report shows

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A Searchlight New Mexico investigation has revealed that an illicit cannabis operation that spanned 400 acres of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico has relocated to Oklahoma and is relying on exploited immigrant workers to provide the labour. According to the report, the labourers come from a pool of restaurant workers who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 closures. The workers are recruited through “Chinese labour brokers” operating in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley and are reportedly often exploited and abused. “A job harvesting marijuana can seem like a golden ticket. It could mean the difference between destitution and economic survival. It could also mean that they end up getting exploited and trafficked. Either way, they don’t have much of a choice,” said Erin Albright, a trafficking expert who formerly worked at the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime. Report: Illegal migrants are being trafficked in the U.K., forced to work on cannabis farms Immigrants working in legal marijuana industry denied U.S. citizenship Proposed MAPLE Act could protect Canadian cannabis workers from U.S. border bans After the New Mexico operation was raided and shut down, with authorities seizing more than 60,000 pounds of cannabis, the organizers began setting up new farms in Oklahoma, where land is cheap and enforcement is lax, according to the report. They also received state-issued medical licences to operate legally. Chinese labourers are being recruited to work on the farms to pay off debts owed to “snakeheads,” a type of Chinese smuggler akin to the Mexican coyote , the report states. One laid-off restaurant worker, identified as Laoshan, told Searchlight New Mexico he saved for years to pay the US$20,000 he owed a snakehead after arriving in California in 2016. “Things have gotten hard,” Laoshan said. “I don’t know if everything the marijuana farms…

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Source : Exploited Chinese immigrants were recruited into illicit cannabis operation, report shows

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