Businessman Facing Trial On Labor Trafficking Charges
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A businessman accused of exploiting his construction workers is going on trial in Minneapolis for rare labor trafficking charges.
Prosecutors say 47-year-old Ricardo Ernesto Batres denied the employees' health coverage and workers' compensation and forced them to live in overcrowded housing with no hot water. A criminal complaint says the construction workers did not have the authorization to be in the U.S. and when they complained about the conditions, Batres reported them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which deported some of them.
State prosecutors have filed nine labor trafficking charges over the past decade, including the charges against Batres whose case is the first for Hennepin County.
Batres' company, American Contractors and Associates, provided construction work throughout Hennepin County and the region.