2 Eastern Iowans Face Charges for Human Trafficking Micronesians
The 'Ottumwa Man' storyline has been sort of a fun bit for me over the last few months. This one, while it does take place in Ottumwa, Iowa, it doesn't really fall into the category of fun.
More so messed up.
Per WHO13, "A Wapello County man and woman have been found guilty on federal charges of labor trafficking for allegedly welcoming two immigrants from Micronesia to their home, then stealing their wages."
The pair Nesly Mwarecheong, 46, and Bertino Weires, 51, both pled guilty to two counts of unlawful conduct with respect to forced labor in federal court.
The two are each facing up to five years in prison as well as a $250,000 fine. They'll also be required to pay $70,000 in restitution to the two immigrants and victims of their scheme.
Court documents elaborate on the crime, saying that Mwarecheong and Weires encouraged the two men to move to the United States and promised them jobs once they came here. Mwarecheong and Weires are also originally from Micronesia.
The two men were forced to work at the JBS meat processing plant in the city in February 2020. According to the Des Moines Register, "Weires filled out employment applications for them. The two were hired and worked eight-hour shifts, six days a week, with weekly pay usually between $800 to $1,000. "
Mwarecheong and Weires took and kept a majority of the money the two men made, giving them just $20 per each pay period. The two men also had their passports and social security cards confiscated from them in order that they provide labor and services.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who prosecuted the case, had this to say in a statement:
These defendants used the allure of jobs in the United States to entice the victims, and then exploited them and profited off their hard work. The Department of Justice remains committed to partnering with federal, state and local officials to investigate and prosecute human trafficking offenses, which have no place in our society.
Ashton Kutcher, Human Rights Advocate: The 19 Charities He Supports
This Iowa Mansion is More Amazing than a Five-Star Resort