14 June 2014

Trafficked Teachers: Neoliberalism’s Latest Labor Source

BY George Joseph

Between 2007 and 2009, 350 Filipino teachers arrived in Louisiana, excited for the opportunity to teach math and science in public schools throughout the state. They’d been recruited through a company called Universal Placement International Inc., which professes on its website to “successfully place teachers in different schools thru out [sic] the United States.” As a lawsuit later revealed, however, their journey through the American public school system was fraught with abuse.

According to court documents, Lourdes Navarro, chief recruiter and head of Universal Placement, made applicants pay a whopping $12,550 in interview and “processing fees” before they’d even left the Philippines. But the exploitation didn’t stop there. After the teachers landed in LAX, they were required to sign contracts paying back 10 percent of their first and second years’’ salaries; those who refused were threatened with instant deportation.


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