A class-action lawsuit filed in Louisiana claims that 350 Filipino teachers were placed into indentured servitude after being recruited to teach in the state. The teachers were recruited through a placement service, which “charged them exorbitant application fees and transportation and housing costs” and took large amounts of their salaries, according to the lawsuit. The suit also contends that the teachers were forced to live in crowded houses and could not see their families. The suit names Universal Placement International (UPI), based in Los Angeles, and a related company, PARS International Placement Agency of Manila. Lourdes, as defendants. The suit is being filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The case is important because the teachers said if they complained individually, the defendants would threaten to deport them. However, the class action device has allowed them to speak with one voice to force change, and the threat of deportation has been eliminated.