USA Today: Three Uzbekistan nationals, Nodir Yunusov, 28, Rustamjon Shukurov, 27, and Sandjar Agzamov, 33, are on the ICE list for labor trafficking, which authorities say is harder to detect than sex trafficking.
The three were indicted for what authorities allege was their part in a complicated labor scheme. From 2005 through 2009, the indictments say, they defrauded the government into issuing visas for jobs that didn’t exist, then brought more than 40 people into the U.S. from Uzbekistan, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines to clean hotel rooms or work in other low-wage jobs for more than 40 hours a week for as little as $50.
The fugitives were college students in St. Louis and Kansas City, where they met other Uzbekistan nationals and came up with the scheme, according to court records and the federal agents who investigated the case. All told, 11 men have been indicted.
The traffickers charged the workers as much as $5,000 in fees to obtain visas, bring them to the U.S. and find them work.
The traffickers required them to live in apartments the ring leased, charging them up to $350 a month to live with as many as 12 other people, the indictments said. The traffickers drove them to and from work to control their movements.
If the workers complained, the traffickers threatened to cancel their visas and charge them $5,000 to return home.
When federal agents broke up the ring in 2009, they found more than 40 victims working in hotels and factories in Kansas City, St. Louis, Wyoming, Florida and Virginia.