02 February 2004

Samoan Slavery Sentencing Stalls

The end of the biggest human trafficking case in U.S. history seemed imminent, with Attorney General John Ashcroft calling a news conference to proclaim victory over "an assault on the nation's core beliefs."

Ashcroft announced Thursday that the South Korean owner of an American Samoa factory engaged in modern-day slavery would learn his fate in hours -- and the sentence of seven Texas men who repeatedly raped women smuggled into the country had already been decided.

"Today, Kil Soo Lee faces the laws -- and the justice -- of the United States," Ashcroft said of the former owner of the Daewoosa Samoa Ltd. Factory in American Samoa.

Yet in federal court in Honolulu, some 4,800 miles away from Washington, Lee's sentencing, already delayed seven months, was put off for nearly four more months.
The U.S. Dept. of Justice press release from February 2003 reports the convictions, and The Guardian spells out more of the appalling details.

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