The embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia is urging the U.S. government to investigate allegations of human trafficking and labor abuse in Iowa.

FSM officials sent a letter to the Department of State last week saying Pohnpei citizens who moved to Sioux City, Iowa to work at the Seaboard Triumph Food pork processing facility have had their passports taken away, been given false Social Security numbers and been denied access to their employment contracts.

The FSM embassy says workers allegedly have been the subject of harassment and verbal abuse and wants the Department of State to investigate the company. The Marianas Variety reported the news and said that Seaboard Triumph Food did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Citizens of the FSM can live and work in the U.S. without visas. The Baltimore Sun reported similar trafficking allegations involving FSM citizens in 2002.

Last year, Civil Beat investigated black market adoptions involving the Republic of the Marshall Islands, a separate island nation that has similar rights for its citizens to migrate to the U.S. without visas.

Before you go . . .

During this unique election season, we appreciate that you and others like you have relied on Civil Beat for accurate, objective coverage of the candidates and their races.

Covering the pandemic has taken a lot of our collective energy. But through it all, our small team of reporters made sure you didn’t forget about electoral politics. Because we know that elections not only test society’s participation in our democracy, but journalism’s commitment to safeguarding it.

If you’ve relied on our election coverage this season, please consider making a tax-deductible gift to support our newsroom.

About the Author