Hawaii farms settle in Thai workers' lawsuitUPDATED 8:00 PM HST Jun 03, 2014Video Transcript
And today.... a BIG settlement -- for HUNDREDS of Thai workers -- who say they suffered through abuse, discrimination, and a series of FAILED promises. KITV4's Lara Yamada reports on the outcome -- after a battle -- more than A DECADE in the making. 5 16 46 55 NAMWICHAI 3022 In the beginning I got sick. Two workers... representing HUNDREDS. 10 years ago, "Kham Juan NAM-wi-chai" and "Lik-HIT Yoo-ON" thought they'd found the chance to earn their dream. NAMWICHAI 2834-42 I thought I would be able to pay back the loan for a recruitment fee in a few months, and send my daughters to school and build a better life for my family. They say Global Horizons -- recruited them and hundreds of others from Thailand -- to work in Hawaii farms... promising good pay, good benefits, and a chance to build a better life for their families. But attorneys say, instead -- Global Horizons charged tens of thousands in recruitment fees -- some with up to 50 percent interest. Then, humiliated, abused -- and denied them food, water, and clean housing. PARK 1542-49 Some speak of using rubber bands and rocks to catch birds so they can eat. YOO-ON 3943-51 I was made to live in a crowded bug filled house where I had to share one bathroom with 26 other Thai workers. Three years ago, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against Global Horizons and 6 Hawaii farms -- on behalf of 500 Thai workers. Saying -- those farms not only knew what was going on -- but contributed to the problem. Today: 4 more farms agreed to settle: The Big Island's Mac Farms: paying the most: $1.6 million. Kauai Coffee: $425,000. Oahu's Kelena Farms: $275,000. Captain Cook Coffee: $100,000. And in an earlier settlement: Del Monte paying out $1.2 million. NAMWICHAI 3405-11 I want to encourage others who experience what I experienced to seek help. Both men say they've found better jobs. Namiwchai's daughter -- at today's news conference. . His final thoughts -- to have her finish college. And change this nightmare -- back into his dream. Lara Yamada KITV4 News. One more Hawaii company has yet to pay -- a trial for damages begins in November for Maui Pineapple. Same goes for the company that recruited for the workers -- Global Horizon. The EEOC says -- it has NOT been able to go after the recruiting businesses IN THAILAND -- that helped Global Horizon find its workers. Can you say ooops.