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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Restaurant Chain Accused of Human Traffick

PORTLAND, ORE. (CN) - A Thai woman accuses the Typhoon! restaurant chain of human trafficking, saying managers confiscated workers' passports, refused access to first aid, opened their mail, stole their tax returns, propositioned them and forced them "to kowtow to the owners and purchase presents for them."

Sarinya Reabroy sued the nine-restaurant chain and its managers, Steve Kline and Bo Kline, in Federal Court. She says that in 2003, Bo Kline induced her to emigrate from Thailand, where she had a good job. Upon arriving in Portland, she says, she and her co-workers were subjected to intolerable and illegal conditions.

She claims "Typhoon! ruled the workplace with iron fists of intimidation, coercion and harassment, targeting their Thai workers" with the abuses mentioned above, and these abuses:

subjecting them to dangerous working conditions;

"telling Thai workers that defendant Bo Kline was 'Queen of immigration' and that defendants have paid off the Department of Homeland Security to do whatever defendants want;"

threatening to sue them and their families if they complained;

forbidding Thai workers to talk with "white people;"

"intentionally deceiving Thai workers about the overtime investigation conducted by the United States Department of Labor in 2004-2004 and the subsequent payment by Typhoon! of $120,000 to settle the matter;"

"threatening to blacklist Thai workers for all employers both within the United States and abroad;"

"forbidding injured Thai workers from seeing or treating with health care professionals and/or refusing them access to first aid;"

"throwing dishes, utensils and food at them and propositioning them for sex;"

"displaying beheaded and dismembered Buddhas in a manner offensive to Thai workers who were of the Buddhist faith;"

"forcing the Thai workers to kowtow to the owners and purchase presents for them;"

"confiscating Thai workers' tax returns;"

and in other ways.She wants punitive damages and statutory and liquidated damages. She is represented by Beth Creighton

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