, Iowa — UPDATE:
A South Pacific island nation is asking the U.S. to investigate alleged abuse of its citizens by Seaboard Triumph Foods of Sioux City and the company’s recruiting tactics.
Dozens of Micronesia residents are accusing Seaboard Triumph Foods of abusing them.
I’ve spoken with a woman whose husband and his fellow co-workers have been directly impacted and share their claims against the company.
More than 200 Micronesian citizens have reportedly left their South Pacific island home country and come to the U.S. for a better life but say instead they’ve been the victim of broken promises supposedly made by pork processing company Seaboard Triumph Foods.
Yuri Engichy’s husband is an employee at that company’s Sioux City plant and says one of the recruiters at STF is allegedly harassing the workers with verbal, sometimes even physical abuse.
This video recording captured by Engichy at the Sioux City Hotel allegedly shows the recruiter in question. Some of the employees claim he’s been allowing himself into their bedrooms and not complying with their requests for him to leave.
“And then he saw William, and said why are you eye-ing me like that and then he turned to the rest of the group and said these are my ‘women’ and he also told William that he’s also his woman,” said Engichy.
Jetske Wauran: “And who’s William to you?”
Engichy: “My fiancé, my husband.”
In a statement requesting an investigation into the claims last Friday, the Micronesian Embassy in Washington claimed that not only were there allegations of verbal and physical abuse, but also the seizure of workers’ passports, and withholding passports in order to threaten or punish workers.
They also allege STF is issuing workers fake social security numbers.
“It’s a whole new number in the ADP, but I took a picture of that and we sent it to the Embassy and they said that that social security that was in the ADP is not right, it’s invalid,” said Engichy.
And now, there are news that housing assistance may end for them, if they don’t sign the employment contracts for jobs they claim they were misled about.
Engichy said she and other family members have been doing the best they can assisting their fellow Micronesians, many of whom who don’t speak English, and more so, are afraid to speak up.
“I was really like wow, is he really doing this our people? He was just talking to them like he owns them,” said Engichy.
The Micronesian Embassy’s request for an investigation claims was delivered to the U.S. government on Friday.
Engichy says the workers have also filed a report with the Sioux City Human Rights Commission.