From Forbes, Preying On Human Cargo
Newly arrived illegals are herded into what veterans call “hell houses.” They’re not allowed to leave until they pay off the snakehead. For those who haven’t brought the cash with them, it means a phone call or two to relatives back in China who must raise the money and send it immediately. Toughs do everything they can to get paid–threatening the relatives of illegals back home and subjecting the migrants to torture and interest rates of up to 5% a month. Immigrant rights activist Wong, a former investigator with the U.S. Coast Guard who participated in raids, recalls seeing people with burns from cigarettes. Some had bloody bruises on their heads, apparently from hammer blows. But Wong says these are extreme cases; 85% of illegals in these circumstances pay up within three weeks, then spend years at below-minimum-wage jobs as dishwashers and sweatshop workers to reimburse their relatives.