From the Metro Washington Council, AFL-CIO (6/12/08) :
INDIAN WORKERS SUSPEND HUNGER STRIKE
Indian trafficking survivors suspended their 29-day hunger strike at a rally outside the Department of Justice Wednesday following a wave of support over the past month from US Congress-members, labor and religious leaders, and thousands of labor and civil rights activists across the country.
"We have confidence to suspend our hunger strike today because we have faith in these allies to fight alongside us until the traffickers are brought to justice," said Indian Workers' Congress Organizer Sabulal Vijayan. "With our hunger strike, we have won concrete actions that will help protect future workers from the nightmare of forced labor we suffered."
At the rally, US Congressmember Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) called the treatment the workers faced at the hands of Indian recruiters and their employer, Signal International, (DC Jobs with Justice Corner: Indian Workers to Stage Hunger Strike in DC 5/8/08 UC) "wrong, inhumane, and immoral." Kucinich and 17 other US Congress-members sent a letter to US Attorney General Michael Mukasey last week demanding he "take the steps necessary to ensure the workers' continued presence so that DOJ can continue this important investigation of modern-day slavery, human trafficking, and forced labor and bring these traffickers to justice."
Kucinich has also promised to hold a Congressional hearing on abuses of guest workers by Signal and other companies. "I think we as Americans and working people around the world owe you an enormous debt for standing up," said Nickeled and Dimed author Barbara Ehrenreich. "You helped bring to light a scandal of slavery in the US."
Quoting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent statement that a “robust law enforcement response is essential” in stopping “petty tyrants who exploit their laborers,” AFL-CIO General Counsel Jon Hiatt called on the Bush Administration to “apply those principles right here at home” and prosecute Signal. The rally - attended by over one hundred supporters - was part of a National Day of Action for the workers that included congressional visits and rallies outside DOJ offices in 10 other cities.